Massey University and local schools engineering young people's future

Tim Carpenter and Luke August work on their mechanics, in an effort to create a pulley system.
Murray Wilson/ Fairfax NZ

Tim Carpenter and Luke August work on their mechanics, in an effort to create a pulley system.

Swings, cranes, lifts and towers were all built within a matter of minutes, as secondary school students caught a glimpse of their possible future. 

Year 11 students from schools in Manawatu and Bay of Plenty expressing an interest in science experienced tertiary education for a day on Saturday, in a visit to Massey University.

The students are part of the university's Puhoro Academy Programme that encourages pupils to pursue a career in science. The programme is starting with year 11 students and engages with teachers and whanau to support the students' science study.

Students' days were divided into four parts. They had discussions about everyday university life, food technology, engineering and finally there was a three-hour competitive engineering build. 

Programme ambassador Mana Vautier, who works as an aerospace engineer with Nasa,  checked in with the students via Skype, too. 

All students took part in the EPro8 Challenge, which called for groups to construct as many mechanisms or structures as possible within three hours. 

Director of academy programmes Naomi Manu said the fact the kids came in on their weekend showed their enthusiasm. 

Students from Hato Paora College, Palmerston North Boys' High School, Awatapu College, Manukura and Kowhata were among those attending. 

Manu said this year's group would revisit the university as they got older, until they had  finished their secondary schooling.

"We'll build the programme up to be suitable for different age groups. This is introductory, year 12 will be getting a little bit more in depth," she said.

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Most of the kids had expressed an interest in the sciences, and were chosen by their schools to attend. But grades did not come into it, she said.

"Getting the students together every term is vital as it reminds them that while they work within their own schools during the term, they're part of a wider community of other Puhoro students who share their passion."

Academy leader Leland Ruwhiu said getting the students together was crucial.

"Getting the students together every term is vital as it reminds them that while they work within their own schools during the term, they're part of a wider community of other Puhoro students who share their passion, which is reflected in the academy's mantra 'He waka eke noa', or 'We're all in this together'."

The teams were mixed so the students would interact with their Puhoro peers from other schools.

 - Stuff

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