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University maker space hosts top secondary school students

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20 January 2021

168 of New Zealand’s top secondary school science students explored their innovative and creative potential at Unleash Space, the University of Auckland’s innovation hub and maker space run by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The students were participants of the 32nd Rotary National Science and Technology Forum. The programme is designed to give high achieving students who plan to study science, maths, or technology at university a better understanding of tertiary courses they could follow. It also allows participants a fuller appreciation of the role of science and technology in the wider community.

Students took part in two of four workshops designed by the Centre’s Unleash Space team. Unleash Space Manager Sean Kelly says, “I’ve had previous success with workshops that combined creativity and a little bit of competition with engaging, fun technology. So, we ran workshops that had students decorate and battle robots, design and heat press their own t-shirt designs, and laser cut their own key chains and jewellery. In addition, every student did our Creative Inspiration and Design workshop to get their creative juices flowing and get them thinking about what else they could make in the Maker Space.”

Create and Make workshops utilising the equipment available at Unleash Space provided a unique opportunity for students to engage with a variety of digital and physical tools they may not have encountered before and create something tangible. Becky Bennett from Christchurch’s Linwood College enjoyed the vinyl cut t-shirt workshop as “Designing and printing our own designs on our shirts was a really fun and interactive way for us to express our creativity.” The Creative Inspiration and Design workshop was a highlight for Nelson College student Jack Deans. He says, “The workshop was entertaining and creative, something different and stimulating. I liked being able to think purely creatively and the teamwork was great fun.”

Sean was hugely impressed by the “sheer creativity” and energy from all participants, with students from a variety of backgrounds coming together to create something new and novel. For example, one workshop involved a Makerbot’s Got Talent activity where teams were tasked with decorating a robot and programming a short performance. The possibilities were endless, as the robots could do anything from moving around wirelessly and playing musical notes to flashing colourful LEDS. “We had a Cardi B-ot that did a dance routine, a mission impossible robot that descended from the ceiling, and even a robot that sang the theme from Titanic while climbing up the bow of a ship. The students displayed unlimited creativity,” says Sean.

Having secondary school students participate in practical workshops at Unleash Space has proven to be an effective means of helping them get a jump start in problem solving and critical thinking, valuable skills for all aspects of their lives including tertiary study. “University is about learning applied principles, solving problems and preparing yourself for the future. The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a great entry point for students to begin this journey in a fun, easy way. We also believe that the best ideas come through collaborating with other people from different disciplines and backgrounds, and Unleash Space is a great place for this.”

Unleash Space has equipment, online tutorials, and technicians available to consult with in bringing your own ideas to life. Free for all students and staff of the University of Auckland. Find out about opportunities to unleash your potential.

Nicholas Bing
Nicholas Bing

social media

20 January 2021

168 of New Zealand’s top secondary school science students explored their innovative and creative potential at Unleash Space, the University of Auckland’s innovation hub and maker space run by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The students were participants of the 32nd Rotary National Science and Technology Forum. The programme is designed to give high achieving students who plan to study science, maths, or technology at university a better understanding of tertiary courses they could follow. It also allows participants a fuller appreciation of the role of science and technology in the wider community.

Students took part in two of four workshops designed by the Centre’s Unleash Space team. Unleash Space Manager Sean Kelly says, “I’ve had previous success with workshops that combined creativity and a little bit of competition with engaging, fun technology. So, we ran workshops that had students decorate and battle robots, design and heat press their own t-shirt designs, and laser cut their own key chains and jewellery. In addition, every student did our Creative Inspiration and Design workshop to get their creative juices flowing and get them thinking about what else they could make in the Maker Space.”

Create and Make workshops utilising the equipment available at Unleash Space provided a unique opportunity for students to engage with a variety of digital and physical tools they may not have encountered before and create something tangible. Becky Bennett from Christchurch’s Linwood College enjoyed the vinyl cut t-shirt workshop as “Designing and printing our own designs on our shirts was a really fun and interactive way for us to express our creativity.” The Creative Inspiration and Design workshop was a highlight for Nelson College student Jack Deans. He says, “The workshop was entertaining and creative, something different and stimulating. I liked being able to think purely creatively and the teamwork was great fun.”

Sean was hugely impressed by the “sheer creativity” and energy from all participants, with students from a variety of backgrounds coming together to create something new and novel. For example, one workshop involved a Makerbot’s Got Talent activity where teams were tasked with decorating a robot and programming a short performance. The possibilities were endless, as the robots could do anything from moving around wirelessly and playing musical notes to flashing colourful LEDS. “We had a Cardi B-ot that did a dance routine, a mission impossible robot that descended from the ceiling, and even a robot that sang the theme from Titanic while climbing up the bow of a ship. The students displayed unlimited creativity,” says Sean.

Having secondary school students participate in practical workshops at Unleash Space has proven to be an effective means of helping them get a jump start in problem solving and critical thinking, valuable skills for all aspects of their lives including tertiary study. “University is about learning applied principles, solving problems and preparing yourself for the future. The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a great entry point for students to begin this journey in a fun, easy way. We also believe that the best ideas come through collaborating with other people from different disciplines and backgrounds, and Unleash Space is a great place for this.”

Unleash Space has equipment, online tutorials, and technicians available to consult with in bringing your own ideas to life. Free for all students and staff of the University of Auckland. Find out about opportunities to unleash your potential.


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