STEM Alliance Aotearoa and Te Hononga Akoranga COMET are excited to highlight the impactful STEAM learning projects funded by Curious Minds South Auckland.
80% of future professions are predicted to require basic STEM skills. This alone highlights the immediate need to engage with rangatahi on STEM subjects as early as possible. The newly released Curious Minds South Auckland Showcase highlights STEAM projects that have done exactly that.
To help strengthen New Zealand’s STEAM workforce capability in the future, Curious Minds South Auckland provides the funding, collaboration, and connections with industry experts delivering a programme focused on increasing enjoyment of these subjects through practical hands-on projects that are relatable in the real world.
Dr Niven Brown, Scientist, Auckland Astronomical Society worked with three early childhood centres in Māngere and Papkura to learn about astronomy from a Samoan perspective. He commented: “It was wonderful to see the children’s enthusiasm and to hear the stories of how introducing this new area of interest has sparked the idea of becoming a scientist or an astronaut. If getting exposed to science generates an interest in science, and education in general, that can only be a good thing for their futures.”
To be granted funding, the projects must meet the below criteria:
- Educationally Valuable: including two-way learning opportunities for those involved.
- Scientifically Robust: Tackle a research problem in partnership with STEAM experts, to generate new scientific and/or technical outputs
- Locally relevant: Involve community members in research that is engaging, locally relevant and community driven
- Be a school located within the South Auckland boundaries outlined by Curious Minds
Due to the disruptive nature of COVID-19, the projects covered within the showcase span 2020-2022 and include 29 projects funded to the value of more than $431,000. Engaging with 1,500 young people and encouraging STEAM projects to be explored across 43 schools partnering with 86 organisations,
Sneh Patel, Project Manager, Curious Minds South Auckland, Te Hononga Akoranga COMET says, “It is always a joy for me to see the partnerships and collaborations that arise with the support of whānau, STEAM professionals and educators in our communities. Together, there is so much we can do to continue to support our young people’s learning.”
This value of learning and collaboration through a wide audience is prevalent in many of the projects funded by Curious Minds South Auckland, “The sharing of cultural knowledge and experience of our parents has not only increased the engagement and participation of our children but was also a paradigm shift in our parents’ thinking of their role as teachers within that learning space.” - Pereise Penn, Lead Teacher, Seugagogo Aoga Amata Preschool.
The aim of STEAM Curious Minds South Auckland funding is to provide students the opportunity to explore new ways of learning and working together, provide a purpose to solve problems in their community that deliver tangible outcomes and most importantly engage our rangatahi with STEAM to show that this learning can be fun and rewarding.
Since 2015 Curious Minds, South Auckland has distributed over $1 million in funding for 74 projects. Engaging with over 4,500 young people, the key objective is to support the STEAM sector to engage with the community and increase:
- Students’ awareness of STEAM subjects
- Community engagement
- Teacher confidence and capabilities in teaching STEAM subjects
To see more information on some of the projects funded by Curious Minds South Auckland follow the below links: