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STEAM Challenge focuses on real life experiences

STEAM Challenge focuses on real life experiences

  • 12 Jun 2023
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(Picture caption: The Toloa STEAM Challenge events were a hit with students this year.)  

Designing meaningful measina with Pacific and Māori patterns to be printed using the 3D printer were part of this year’s Toloa STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) Challenge. 

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ Toloa team, along with partners Le Va, Vaka Ltd and Young Enterprise Scheme hosted three two-day STEAM Challenge events around the country for the 2023 Toloa Secondary Scholarship recipients. 

Toloa supports Pacific peoples in STEAM pathways over a whole of life approach – ECE, primary, intermediate, secondary, tertiary through to the workforce and the programme’s vision is to make a transformational impact in the communities we live in.

Funding and Scholarships Manager for Toloa, Sio Kihe La’a Talakai-Alatini, says the first challenge kicked off in Palmerston North, hosted by one of Toloa’s Contestable Fund Providers Amanaki STEM Academy. 

“This challenge was aimed at our junior scholarship recipients, while the other two challenges were hosted in Auckland for our senior scholarship cohort,” Sio Kihe La’a says. 

“During the challenges, students had the opportunity to learn how to use 3D software using their laptop devices, provided by the MPP as part of their scholarship. 

“After designing their measina, students told short stories about why they chose those patterns during the Le Va Leadership Workshops.” 

In other activities, students were challenged to use tech enablers to explore a STEAM solution in adapting to climate change - learning to live with the effects of climate change. 

“Some solutions included vertical farming for Kiribati, who are facing rising sea-levels affecting their agriculture,” Sio Kihe La’a says. 

“Another solution was artificial intelligence and virtual reality experiences to preserve and learn the Tuvaluan culture/language, since by 2060 the country is expected to be underwater due to climate change. 

“Presentations included prototypes built for judges to examine including drawings and visual/sound aids through their presentations.” 

The panel of judges, parents, and teachers were very impressed with the well-thought out solutions the scholars confidently presented. 

Sio Kihe La’a adds the calibre of presentations this year was very high and thanks must go to everyone who took part and supported the events. 

Visit the MPP website for more information on the Toloa Programme.