The Power Challenge is a new, free in-school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) programme. Part of The Wonder Project, its aims to help students learn how different energy sources can be used to create electricity and deliver power to New Zealand’s homes and communities.
From the beginning of Term 3, 30 classrooms across the country are taking part in a pilot of the new Power Challenge. The eight-week activity is for Year 7 and 8 students to learn about energy sources and power generation. Sponsored by Transpower, it’s the third challenge in Engineering New Zealand’s The Wonder Project initiative and is aligned to Level 4 of the national curriculum.
“We’re proud and excited to co-create and financially back the Power Challenge,” said Transpower Chief Executive, Alison Andrew. “It’s part of our responsibility to empower New Zealand’s energy future. We’re going to need thousands more highly skilled people in the energy sector as we work to create a low-carbon future. Getting young people from all walks of life interested in STEM careers is an important step.”
The Wonder Project is a collection of free, hands-on activities and programmes geared towards the New Zealand school curriculum.
“Engineering New Zealand and Transpower are both committed to creating a dynamic and diverse future workforce,” said Engineering New Zealand President, Rosalind Archer. “We’re well suited to work together and it’s such an important time to pull resources. Engineering is one of the fastest growing fields in the world but in Aotearoa we don’t have enough young people pursuing engineering careers.”
The Power Challenge, which will roll out nationwide in 2022, joins the Rocket Challenge (Years 5–6) and Plant Challenge (Years 7–8). As part of the programme, students will be tasked with designing and building a wind turbine and light up their town of the future with the support of their teacher and a Wonder Project Ambassador (a local STEM professional).
“Students will be encouraged to think like engineers, build and test their own prototypes and use teamwork, problem solving and creativity to keep the lights on, the schools open and the hospitals running,” explained Archer.
Among those participating in the pilot will be students at Kõwhai Intermediate in Auckland.
“We’re proud to be part of the Power Challenge pilot,” said DigiTech Leader Malcolm Clarke. “We’ve already had a great experience with The Wonder Project, through the Rocket Challenge. It’s benefitted the whole school and given our teachers a great steppingstone for bringing more STEM initiatives into their classes.
“Children thrive with hands-on learning. They love getting into the details of how things work and go off on tangents adults sometimes never think of. The young people I teach already have a great understanding of world issues and the importance of socially conscious choices. I expect learning more about renewable energy and the roles they could potentially play to create a low-carbon future will excite them.”
Schools are invited to register their interest in any of The Wonder Project’s activities. Teachers will be paired with a STEM professional and provided with all the resources needed to successfully integrate the programmes into the classroom.
“The Wonder Project is a great way to build curiosity, confidence and a commitment to STEM,” added Transpower’s Alison Andrew. “We are highly impressed with how Engineering New Zealand curates innovative and interactive learning materials, and how The Wonder Project supports teachers to provide students the best STEM experience they can.
“We have our own Transpower people signing up as Ambassadors to work in classrooms with teachers and students, and are keen to encourage more of the sector to join us. It’s a great way to share knowledge and pay it forward.”
For more on The Wonder Project and to register your school’s interest go to wonderproject.nz
INTERFACE August 2021