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Taranaki science & technology fair

The WITT Science & Technology Fair is organised by a dedicated team of volunteers. Students of all ages have an opportunity to experience the true nature of science and potentially see their inventions in mass production. New from 2018, with the introduction of the Digital Technologies Hangarau Matihiko curriculum, are the Robotics Competitions. 

Why the Science and Technology Fair is a fun and authentic learning opportunity

* A local primary school student had no idea that in a few years time her project would save the hearing of children across New Zealand...meet local hero Jamie Fenton, Young New Zealander of the Year...

* We award around $10,000 in prizes that students can use to continue their interest in science, and around $72,000 in total has been awarded in Scholarships for further studies at a tertirary level.

* School science earns an F. Research by local scientist and Microsoft Innovative Teacher Michael Fenton indicates that the state of New Zealand's science teaching is antiquated and inadequate. What are some examples of 'best practice' when using ICT in education, and how do science projects improve learning?

* Teaching and the f word: From the New Zealand INTERFACE article....putting the fun back into teaching while dealing with the competing tensions of assessment and covering the curriculum. For primary and secondary teachers.

* Taranaki Scientific Journalism winner - Do the benefits of science outweigh the risks? As printed in the NZASE Science Teachers journal

STEM/STEAM citizen science projects:  real-world data via low cost IoT smart devices

Build your own Internet of Things (IoT) home automation, robotics or science data collection devices for just a few dollars. Monitor data on your phone, laptop or tablet, use automatic graphing tools to look for patterns or trends, or even set alarms for txts and email alerts. Environmental sensor1 (ES1) example...connected to Thingspeak...

Photo gallery of some past projects

Mikaela and Kimberley Science Fair 2003
Technological development:
Bike indicator - the youngest participant at the Fair was only seven (7) years old! Mikaela won a Merit Prize, not bad when the other students in her section were at least 4 years older than her!
Laser Wars - Terminator pulse rifle
Technological development: The Laser Wars! Junior Technology project of Nick Wells from Inglewood High School caught the attention of the Daily News reporter visiting the Science Fair...

The project is based on a combat game played in broad daylight instead of in the dark The Pulse Rifle could shoot the Terminator from way up on the second floor!
Kim with her school bag
Science investigation:
Strategy: Observing trends and patterns in data

Lethal lunch boxes! How hot does your lunch box get when left in your school bag? Kimberley Fenton found out with some help from a PICAXE datalogger using a temperature sensor to monitor food spoilage.

Home made air track using box downpipe
Technological development   and also used for
Science investigation:

Strategy: Observing trends and patterns in data

Simple inexpensive DIY Air Track made from box downpipe.

Great for Year 12 and Year 13 physics, but fun for primary students to see a frictionless surface to model frictionless space flight in a vacuum (no air). Once you get moving with a push from your engine, you can coast without using any more fuel to the end of the universe!

NEW! Robotics competition

Science and Technology Fair robotics sub-committee Buy or build a robot for our new competition! Read the feature in the Taranaki Daily News to start planning!

The Edison V2 robots were donated by Tim Carr at www.MindKits.co.nz

Teachers or students want help building robots? Pat and Chris will be running workshops at their schools.

Look for STEM expert Michael and Kimberley visiting your school with a band of bots following behind.

Supporting robots:
Top: Cybot and OP1 (home-built autonomous bluetooth environmental control robot)

Bottom: Edison v2 robot (donated by MindKits.co.nz) and PICAXE home-built robot

(Cybot, OP1 and PICAXE robots built by Michael Fenton)

For more on PICAXE and other robots visit Nexus Research Group.

The art of robotics

We don't want to see any bare circuits or boring 'naked' robots...give your robot some personality and a cool body!

Think of this as adding a costume; it could be as simple as a cardboard covering with hand drawn body parts and gadgets to scare off the competition!

Here is an example of dressing up an Edison V2 robot (kindly supplied by Tim Carr of www.Mindkits.co.nz)

How cool can you make your robot?

Scary R2 - the original skeleton R2D2-style robot!

If you wait until the day AFTER Halloween, it is scary how cheap some of the accessories and props are from local stores...perhaps use these for your next Applied robotics/ STEAM project?

Creepy R2 uses LiPo batteries, a L298N motor controller connected to a Picaxe 14M2, and has a voice via a MP3 player module. The robot is driven using a bluetooth module via an Android smartphone (see the Robotics competition main page for parts).

Creepy R2 robot does a self diagnostic power check at start up, then can be driven and tracks (phrases and music) played to suit the occasion!

What could you come up with?

For more ideas:

  • Example posters and past exhibits...

Original fun experiments & technology to build for authentic maths and science investigations for all ages;

visit      www.NexusResearchGroup.com

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