Day of hands-on learning for Children’s University ākonga

The weather couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of 100 tamariki and rangatahi who spent the day on the Manawatū campus getting a taste of university life.

The tamariki were on campus for the second annual Discovery Day, as part of the Wānanga Nohinohi Te Kunenga Children’s University programme.

These ākonga came from Children’s University member schools Longburn School, Riverdale School, Te Kura o Takaro and Te Kura o Wairau, as well as a small group from the Te Fatu o te Pasifika Learning Hub after school programme.

Following a mihi whakatau, waiata and welcome to campus, ākonga were split into groups, with each group heading off to a different activity. Each activity was designed to showcase different aspects of student life, the campus or some of the subjects ākonga could be inspired to study in the future. The activities were spaced out across the campus in order to highlight various areas and interesting things along the way.

The day had a ‘hands-on’ theme to it, with activities including an ice cream quiz and sampling session with food scientists, learning about the human body in the nursing teaching suite, exploring how best to care for sheep with animal scientists, finding out about chemical reactions, and skill testing and games with sport and exercise staff and students in the Recreation Centre to round off the day.

Programme Coordinator Bettina Anderson says it was evident that visiting ākonga enjoyed themselves throughout the day.

“Hands-on science was on show in great style, and the kids were lobbing questions at staff in every activity they took part in. Our staff ‘aunties’ and student ‘fun facilitator’ helpers commented on how much fun they had too, as the kid’s enthusiasm was infectious. Our plan was to fuel imaginations and spark interest in subjects they might like to pursue in the future.”

Since attending, ākonga have been responding to an online survey about their experience of being on campus. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and has included comments such as “Massey is big!” and “Massey has a lot of education and things that can help your future.”

Highlights identified by the students included touching a sheep’s stomach, feeling the wool of a sheep, trying freeze-dried ice cream and the chemistry ‘fire’ demonstration.