When Student Agency STEAMs Ahead

Grace Chen, Rachel An, Hannah Jones and Natalija Hayes with students from Milford and Takapuna Primary Schools

As part of our STEAM programme here at Westlake Girls High School, students have been working on a Community project. They are challenged to use the process of Design Thinking to identify an issue within their community that is meaningful to them and create a prototype solution to minimise or fix this issue.

Earlier in term 1, Grace Chen, Rachel An, Hannah Jones and Natalija Hayes began to brainstorm how they would solve the issue of the lack of knowledge about STEAM within our community, the North Shore, especially amongst primary students. An issue the students identified based on their research and their own experiences through primary and intermediate schools.

After weeks of preparation and contacting schools we had finally finalised our solution for our community project issue; to have 30 students from primary schools to come into our STEAM workshop to allow primary students from our Kahui Ako to try out various STEAM-based activities and learn more about STEAM as a whole.

Soon weeks became days and we continuously put all our effort into creating this exciting learning environment.

To address their identified community issue the group has also created a ‘STEAM Central’ website as a follow up for the workshop participants and to be shared through our Kahui Ako to reach a broader audience. ‘STEAM Central’ provides information on what STEAM is, giving regular updates on news happening in the tech world and more information about the group members.

On Wednesday the 24th of October, this idea came to life.

“In our STEAM programme we create opportunities for our students to explore their passions and experience learning in an authentic real-world context. Hannah, Grace, Natalija and Rachel really raised to the challenge, they were organised and designed great activities perfect for the age of the audience. The STEAM workshop has also given primary students some insight into their journey ahead, something to look forward to as they transition through the school system and as well as positive role models to look up to in our students.”

-Ms Tomaz

What did you enjoy most about the day? – “The variety of experiences and opportunities that you gave the children. You had researched and planned your activities well and this was evident in the presentation.”

– Mr Cormack (Teacher)

“I was excited and interested, it was a lot of fun”

– Layla (Student)

“It was the best STEAM program I have been to! Please hold it again.”

– Grace (Student)

“I’ve certainly leant a lot from carrying out this community project; it has really challenged my time management and problem solving skills as we’ve had to fix so many problems that we’d stumbled on throughout the journey. This opportunity tested my ‘workforce’ abilities and has enabled our group to strengthen our relationships with each other.”

– Grace Chen (STEAM Student)

Hannah starting off the STEAM workshop

Hannah helping students out with programming the robots.

Grace Chen, Robotics Leader helping Milford and Takapuna Primary students to programme their robots to behave as autonomous cars and stop at traffic lights.

Hannah and Natalija helping Milford and Takapuna Primary students to design light up cards using basic principles of electronics.

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