The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has a programme for investing in practical projects, which will encourage students to take up Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects and think about future employment in those areas. Energise Ōtaki received funding in 2016 to advance projects with Ōtaki College focused on food, energy and horticulture, which were very successful. Subsequent funding from the Working Together Fund has helped us keep this moving forward. Some of this funding went into setting up the Community Garden.
In 2017 Energise Ōtaki received further funding from MBIE’s Unlocking Curious Minds to advance a key project at Ōtaki College in partnership with Massey University. The focus was on four sub-projects with a major emphasis on introducing the traditional Maori world view, traditional science and engineering and then involving students in projects. The idea was to explore how integrating understanding of Maori thinking and present day science would help link students coming from local Maori immersion schools and encourage other students to take pride in that tradition. The focus was on
- Energy and Building
- Traditional music and the science of sound
- Transport (waka to e-vehicles) and
- Natural environment.
Volunteers from Te Wānanga O Raukawa provided input and expertise. Some learning resources will be translated into Te Reo. It was successful and we were able to track shifts in attitudes to science, levels of interest and whether students can see a future using science in some form or other.
Some of the activities this funded were: Energy Cubes, Solar Cars (used in the curriculum units), E-volocity
Data from the project showing changing attitudes to science with a large increase in enjoyment of learning among Maori and Pacifica students. Similar changes were recorded for students overall.