STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is important because our world depends on it. Both the economy and our general wellbeing are backed by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM careers are also among the most interesting and well-paid in the world. Currently, there is a severe worldwide under representation of women in STEM fields, therefore Woodford House is trying to encourage more girls to give it a go and develop an interest for STEM through a range of curricular and co-curricular STEM activities.
A dedicated, but small group of students have been attending robotics build sessions at the Hastings District Library on Thursdays from 3.30pm to 5.00pm. Run by Digital Circus, the sessions aim to get students inspired and engaged in building VEX EDR and IQ robots for set challenges. The programmes enables girls to learn invaluable skills including computer coding, problem solving, critical thinking, computational thinking, and group collaboration. The long term goal is to train teams to compete in the VEX Robotics competitions at regional and national levels.
Maia Briggs, a Year 12 student who has been involved with VEX EDR since last year says, “It’s great as it gives me an opportunity to apply my knowledge in a way we can’t at school. It’s also something I intend to pursue for tertiary study.”
Maia Briggs and Point Techathong working on the EDR robot.
Claudia Patel-Gaunt working on an IQ challenge.
The Woodford House Code Club is comprised of a small group of intermediate and senior students who get together every Friday after school to learn, share and create digital content through coding. The junior students are extending their understanding of programming languages they are familiar with, such as Scratch, but also learning about new platforms, including Gamefroot, Python and HTML/CSS over the course of the year. The senior students have individual coding goals they are working towards, such as creating apps using Unity.
Tuesday lunchtimes see a small group of girls complete student focused, problem-based STE(A)M projects in the library. Challenges and activities this year have included designing and launching straw and matchstick rockets, using Lego Technics and Mindstorms, and making light up cards using circuitry. During Term 2, the focus has been on art projects that can be completed in one session and girls have created tissue paper flowers and worry beads in celebration of the 2019 Festival of Cultures.
Allie MacEwan, Zoe Solomon, Taylah Sandle and Mela Tremain making tissue flowers.
A powered plane constructed by Maia Briggs.
The Year 7 and 8 Rocket Challenge
The intermediate students have been part of the first ever Wonder Project Rocket Challenge, an initiative from Engineering NZ, which aims to promote STEM education in schools. The objective of the challenge is to work in small groups to learn, design, build, test and launch a water bottle rocket using the launchers supplied by the Project. Woodford House parents; Luke Price, Ross Simmons, James Beech and Mark Honeth volunteer their time once a week as project ambassadors to inspire and support the students with their learning and building. Along with the knowledge they gain about the physics behind rockets, girls also learn important skills such as time management, collaboration, problem solving, data manipulation and analysis, and concept visualisation and design.
Girls learning technical skills.
James Beech looks on as Lydia Burns launches a rocket.
Mrs Iresha Dona, Science Teacher and Mrs Karen Carswell, Librarian