A big thanks to all those who attended our STEM in the Community events over the October 2021 school holidays. Our team really enjoyed travelling around to different locations in the Bay of Plenty and meeting all our STEM friends. We would also like to extend a huge thanks to all the amazing content providers, friends, and partners who supported and helped us with all the preparation as well as delivering workshops and activities on the day.

Here’s a recap of all the sessions…

Biomimicry with Lauren Schick – Environmental Science Consultant

Saturday 2nd October 2021 – Tauranga

What can we learn from a bumble bee? Are spiders good teachers? Biomimicry is a practice that learns from and mimics the features found in nature to solve human design challenges. It is about valuing nature for what we can learn, not what we can extract or harvest.

In our workshop children learnt more about the principles of biomimicry, brainstormed new ideas and were trying to solve a problem humanity is facing by designing and creating their own t-shirt using the principles of biomimicry.
It was awesome to see adults and children take part in our interactive workshop hosted at Basestation in Tauranga’s CBD. We were so impressed with the creativity displayed by our young STEM participants. There was plenty of glue and glitter being used on the T-shirt designs and in the end we were treated to a show-and-tell from some of the designers.

Some feedback and learnings we captured on the day:

“How much humans copy nature.”
“That most things humans make are based on animals.”
“That thorny devils can such up water through their feet, frogs can freeze alive and polar bears have black skin.”

Morning Tea with STEM Heroes

Tuesday 5th October 2021 – Tauranga

We wanted to help support our young people as they planned ahead for their future career goals – so on Tuesday 5th October from 8:30am to 10:30am – we invited parents and young adults to converse with a panel of STEM heroes who shared with our audience their own personal STEM experiences. Kindly hosted at University of Waikato Tauranga campus.

Our speakers were from a diverse range of STEM disciplines:

Suki Xiao – Career Coach & Entrepreneur spoke of her experiences in changing industries and dealing with family expectations.

Victoria Clark – Senior Environmental Engineer Specialist at Beca, spoke of her studies in the South Island and how she learned much from volunteering on projects overseas.

Natalie Prinz – Marine Biologist, doing a PhD in Marine Ecology at the University of Waikato and STEMFest Ambassador spoke of her desire to succeed even though she struggled with some subjects and how her passion to share with others comes from a desire to keep learning.

Kathryn Hempstalk – Technology Leader at LawVu. Graduate from University of Waikato. Spoke of world-class opportunities close to home and how you can use scholarships to help support you through your studies.

Dr Rebecca Sargisson – Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology, at the Tauranga campus of the University of Waikato. Spoke of her experiences overseas, her passion for communicating and that it was okay not to know what you wanted to do when you are about to embark on a university career.

Dr. Joanne Ellis gave us a rundown of the all the STEM based opportunities at the University.

The main theme of the event and message that we wanted to give to our young audience was that you have to take risks in order to achieve your goals. You do not have to excel in a subject to have a career in this specific field, and perseverance is the key to success.

“Precious Plastic Project” by Envirohub Bay of Plenty

Wednesday 6th October 2021 – Whakatane

We were thrilled to host a “Precious Plastic Project” by Envirohub Bay of Plenty. A workshop that educated visitors about avoiding single use plastic and, if we can’t, what are the alternatives for the waste? Participants got to know the process to transform milk/soda bottle lids that can’t currently be recycled into other creative products such as clocks, pens, earrings. There is also a challenge awaiting the participants involving some structural engineering with some great prizes and swag to take home.

Huge thanks to the lovely team at Envirohub for providing such engaging and fun learning around recycling and being a good environmental citizen.

Here is what our young environmental explorers told us they learnt:

“You can crush the lids to make clocks and earrings.”

“That 62% of the plastic waste goes to Tauranga (from the region?).” 

“That you can recycle plastic lids.”

One child learnt different techniques for building.

Science at Home with Rebecca

Thursday 7th October 2021 – Rotorua

Science at Home workshop is a fun, interactive session where children are the scientists performing experiments using items that can be found in the pantry at home.

Presented by Science Teacher and long time STEM friend, Rebecca Prestidge. Young scientists had a go at some fun chemistry experiments using simple things you can get at home, the goal was to experiment and discover the joys of science in simple everyday items.

Our young scientists gave us the following feedback:

“That hot things go up and cold things go down and liquid can change colours.”

“That plants absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen for us.”

“Learnt about rocket tea bags :)”

Create art using robotics – with Tauranga City Library

Friday 8th October – Tauranga

Children were invited to join the awesome Tauranga Library team as they ran a creative workshop where participants were able to design and build their own “art-bot”.

Using paper cups, pens, and simple circuitry, our designers and engineers built some amazing creations that they got to take home to create a unique abstract masterpiece.

Here’s what some of our robot designers had to say about the event:

“How to make a robot with an engine and use angles to make it draw.”

“How to balance the robot.”

“That scribble bots work with vibrations.”

“That robotics can be quite hard but fun.”

“That in science you have to sometimes try and try again.”

Pumps, pipes, and wipes! – with Tauranga Water Education

Saturday 16th October – Tauranga

“Pumps, pipes and wipes” is a water education workshop. Participants got to learn how they can save water at home or what is the difference between wastewater and stormwater.

Tauranga City Council provided an interactive model to see where our water goes once it’s been used and what we can do in order to ensure that we take care of our precious tonga.

Here’s what some of our participants had to say about the session:

“I learnt about the 3 waters.”

“I learnt about waterwaster, storm water and water cycle.”

“We learnt how to save the water and how much water is going around the world.”

“I learnt where water goes when you use it.”

“I learnt not to use too much water and not to wash the car on the driveway.”