Te Hononga Akoranga COMET’s WeSTEM projects have been confirmed for 2023!
WeSTEM engages young students in STEAM through hands-on science learning. Supported by the Ministry for Pacific People’s Toloa contestable fund, we have funded five incredible projects that will have ākonga conducting research in their local community.
The purpose of the WeSTEM – Science in Action Programme is to engage young people with STEAM through a participatory science project. Participatory science involves connecting young people and educational organisations with STEAM professionals to tackle a research question or solve a problem identified in their community. These projects will introduce Pasifika young people to STEAM concepts and career pathways and build confidence in project leaders for working with the STEAM subjects. It can also be a first step to other STEAM opportunities as we spark a sustainable interest in STEAM learning.
We look forward to working with these groups to engage more Pasifika youth in STEAM education!
Projects funded this year are:
FUNGI FOR THE COMMUNITY
The Mushroom Smith
Following a successful partnership with Summerland Primary School last year, west Auckland’s resident mycologist, Dr Chris Smith, is continuing to grow a love of fungi with Kelston Intermediate School, Saint Dominic's College and Waitākere College. These schools will study different aspects of the fungi plant kingdom, employing a Tuakana–Teina approach that will see the students collaborate and share their learnings with the wider community.
MEASURING MAURI - WETLANDS AND WATER
Set in the backdrop of the Matuku Reserve wetlands, students from Henderson North School will work with the Matuku Link conservation team to undertake an investigation on the importance of wetlands and streams for human health. There will be a focus on stream quality and biodiversity monitoring. They will take this learning back to their classroom to compare with their local Waikumete stream.
TE WAIORA O TE AWA
McLaren Park Henderson South (MPHS) Community Trust
MPHS will undertake a research project on the health of their local awa, Opanuku and Oratia. They will investigate the water quality and see how recent flood events have affected stream modifications, bank stability and erosion. They will also investigate the effect this will have on the biodiversity of the awa.
ADOPT AN ECOSYSTEM
Fanau at two west Auckland aoga amata will conduct a scientific inquiry into the biological processes that take place inside an ecosystem. Featuring a partnership between Rosebank Early Childhood Centre, Taulapapa Leata Su'a Aoga Amata and the Auckland Teaching Gardens, the children will learn how to create and sustain an ecosystem by building terrariums in the classroom. Over time, they will monitor the growth of living species inside this small environment.
TE MOHIO KI REIRA KO RUTHERFORD COLLEGE
In collaboration with Te Pūnaha Matatini, rangatahi in Te Atatū Peninsula will embark on an exploration of what it means to be a student at Rutherford College as experienced through cutting-edge technology. Senior students involved in an internship programme will create a VR experience of the school to help alleviate anxieties for new students and whānau. The enviro group will undertake a further exploration of the health and biodiversity of the local Pixie stream, accessing new technology that can complement traditional tools used in stream monitoring.