Since the initial pilot in 2021, Te Hononga Akoranga COMET has to date distributed more than $136,000 in funding towards STEAM research projects in west Auckland communities through the WeSTEM initiative.
The WeSTEM showcase is an exhibition of the projects that have been funded during this time and the outcomes this programme has achieved.
As WeSTEM project manager Dr Sneh Patel highlights, many of these projects feature a connection to Te Taiao, reflecting the west Auckland spirit of caring for their environment:
“It is incredible to offer these opportunities for ākonga to study their local area and investigate issues that are important to them. These projects have showcased an effective way to engage ākonga in STEAM through hands-on learning.”
Supported by the Ministry of Pacific Peoples, WeSTEM has a focus on engaging more young Pacific students in STEAM by making research and design relevant, hands-on and connected with community partners and science mentors. We are proud to have supported over 800 youth participants through WeSTEM, and this showcase shares their learning stories and voices.
The showcase also highlights the use of art as an effective tool for qualitative evaluations in determining the outcomes of STEAM projects. Utilised by tamariki at Leataata Samoan Preschool and Summerland Primary, it can be a simple and fun way for younger ākonga to share their learnings from participatory science projects and for teachers and whānau to reflect and evaluate learnings.