Science and tech support for kids
Active Minds Aotearoa, a science and technology support programme for kids, is on a roll.
Now headquartered at Te Manawa, the community-focused learning and teaching trust set up by Erin and Mark Skelsey has a mission to promote sci-tech, design and sustainability to young minds.
‘‘For kids who are into music, arts and sport, there’s lots of things going on,’’ Erin said.
‘‘But if you’re into science, robotics, coding, there are limited opportunities. There are not the groups or clubs for kids to pursue these things.’’
For the past two years, with a team of volunteer tutors, AMA has operated in a zone that encourages children to ‘‘make, break and create’’ things from a science, technology, design and maths focus.
‘‘My passion has been to inspire children from a very young age, and saw there was an opportunity to set up something unique in Manawatu.’’
As well as setting up afterschool and holiday programmes, AMA works with 15 member schools within a 60 kilometre radius of Palmerston North, providing forensic, food tech and electronics kits as well as teaching support.
‘‘We’re about to pilot a food product unit at Ross Intermediate using agricultural science resources to produce our own food kit as a term four project.’’
At St Peter’s College, AMA are working alongside the Central Robotics Trust that runs the events for the VEX and VEX IQ robotics programmes throughout the Central Lower North Island.
‘‘Our programmes are all linked to the New Zealand science curriculum.’’
Skelsey said the volunteer tutors attracted to AMA were equally passionate about the programme and many have been with it since inception, and AMA can call on certain Massey Uni- versity expertise and input.
During the school holidays, AMA’s Te Manawa workshops on food packaging design, movement and the science of the Olympics, among others, attracted plenty of youngsters keen to learn about the practical and fun hands-on application of scientific principles.
Te Manawa’s Andy Lowe said the AMA ‘‘residence’’ would be a welcome addition to the museum’s science and technology arm.
James Skelsey, 5, Henry Simons, 7, Lucas BrownSamuelsson, 7, Lachlan Mexted, 7, and Siiri Dzierzon, 6, discover how air molecules create lift at Te Manawa.