How do you get young Kiwis interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as a career?
Rockets! That’s how.
Our friends at Engineering New Zealand are running an awesome programme called THE WONDER PROJECT, which aims to get our kiwi kids interested in STEM from a young age. For years 5-6, it’s all about designing, building and launching their own water rockets, under the expert guidance of a volunteer Engineering New Zealand Ambassador.
A big kid himself, our 3 Waters engineering specialist and Chartered Professional Engineer Brad Rudsits, is one of these ambassadors.
Working with budding young STEMers from Alfriston School, Brad has been busy teaching these 9 – 11 year olds all about Newton’s Laws (remember hearing “every action has an equal and opposite reaction” at school? That’s one of Newton’s laws!) and designing rockets.
“These future engineers and scientists are keen, enthusiastic, great little problem solvers with some very creative ideas,” says Brad of his charges. “They have asked some very pointed and insightful questions, which has definitely kept me thinking on my feet.”
“I get a real kick out of seeing them enjoying the Wonder Project. They’re so busy flying bottle rockets across the school fields that they don’t even know they’re learning.”
As a father of three adventurous boys himself, being a role model comes naturally to Brad.
“Any excuse to get out of the office and away from the computer screen suits me,” laughs Brad.
“But in all seriousness, getting the opportunity to leave the project work behind and be adventurous with the kids for a couple of hours a fortnight makes work all that more enjoyable.”
Thanks to the good people at Engineering New Zealand for the opportunity and to Mrs Sarina Davies of Alfriston School for facilitating the learning opportunity.
Despite the disruption of COVID 2.0, Brad’s little engineers and scientists are on track to launch their rockets in the next few weeks. Will it be a successful launch, will the kids still love STEM?
All will be revealed shortly – no pressure Brad.