Crest Invent Event Gold Crest Awards 1998

  • Wyatt Creech

To achieve CREST Gold, students take on a very significant challenge (an estimated 100 hours work outside their school curriculum). They interact with expert consultants as part of their learning and have to meet face-to-face with their assessors and present their work to an invited audience.

The projects completed by the Gold CREST students are both interesting examples of Science and Technology and they also illustrate how in the real world outside of school, subject boundaries don't necessarily feature.

Jana and Stephanie's air hockey table is an excellent example of how scientific principles can be used to design a technological product. (A computer simulation based on Bernaulli's theorem about air-flow helped them with their initial design.)

To turn the idea and computer design into a usable product they had to grapple with problems such as what materials were actually available and at what cost, and how these could be cut and drilled and joined. They had to accept the need and to plan a way to consumer test their product for robustness and durability. These were all authentic technological challenges to be met.

Janine studied what adolescents eat-and the reasons for their choices. It is a good example of how very significant personal education can arise from students' own interests or the needs they see in society. It also illustrates why we need social science research in New Zealand. The students she studied knew about balanced diets, but apparently did not always choose foods that gave them such a diet. Janine went on to interview them about how food choices were made.

I want to see more of this community involvement. We substantially increased funding for the Learning Experiences Outside The Classroom (LEOTC) programme in the last three years. In 1994, $1.4 million was available. In this financial year the funding is close to $4 million, and by the 2000/2001 financial year the funding will be over $5.1 million.

As part of the LEOTC programme the Ministry of Education has recently signed a three year contract, for over a quarter of a million dollars, with this Science Centre and Art Gallery.

The primary focus of the programmes will be students and their teachers in the Central North Island, although class groups from elsewhere in New Zealand will also be able to participate.

The Government is committed to promoting science and technology.

National Education Goal Five places an emphasis of science and technology alongside literacy and numeracy.

The Science Curriculum focuses on the development of scientific skills and attitudes through practical science and its greater emphasis on Chemistry and Physics in the primary school.

The new Technology Curriculum for all Years 1 to 10 students aims to increase students' technological knowledge, capability, understanding, and awareness of the significance of technology in our lives.

We will next month announce a new strategy for using Information Technology in Schools to further teaching and learning. Carol Moffatt, the former principal of Oxford Area School has been appointed to the Ministry to lead this important development.

I also want to push the development of links between schools and the broader economy. The revised edition of 'Working Together' -building partnerships between schools and enterprises will be distributed to schools in term four 1998. It says:

"School-enterprise partnerships have potential benefits for all parties. They encourage communication and dialogue, help expose and avoid misunderstandings, and help the partners to learn from each other and to gain an understanding of each other's goals and 'cultures'. Long-term partnerships can be especially helpful in achieving these goals.

The CREST awards scheme exemplifies this thinking and today's awards winners illustrate this vision very well.

This scheme, which might have been seen as extracurricular for a number of years, now has a significant degree of fit within the curriculum which should encourage more students and teachers to become actively involved in CREST.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all participants, parents, teachers, business enterprises, assessors and especially the winners of the Gold CREST awards for 1998 :Janine, Jana and Stephanie.