HUKERENUI SCHOOL R.U.R.A.L COMMUNITY PROBLEM SOLVING TEAM
Problem solving how to use their enormous land space more effectively for education did not come easy for these four girls who have worked over a year to develop their school’s land space with authentic learning resources!
They brainstormed solutions that would provide hands on learning opportunities to develop skills for life. It was challenging but they managed to find wonderful sponsors and experts who pledged their support and as a result they learned to farm maize (6ha of it), lavender, reclaimed their native bush and made natural remedies, developed the bee hives and used the wax and honey to produce balms, planted an orchard, build a paddock and have loaned alpacas to farm. Students are learning to felt and spin wool from the Alpaca fibre. As a result they managed to develop 71% of the unused land space effectively for education. They bought a still from their maize profit, and all classes are involved in extracting their own essential oils and are learning to make all sorts of balms, other products and are learning to be self-sufficient.
Developing the schools agricultural identity through this broad learning in science, technology, maths and literacy has brought invaluable learning to the whole school. The A-maizing maize company was established and with the help of Pioneer Seeds is now an integrated part of the Year 7+8’s learning. Not only do they organise and care for the 5ha of maize close to the school, but they also measure the growth of 8 hybrids planted as a science trial by Pioneer Seeds on the school grounds. They measure soil temperatures and rainfall and before harvesting work with Pioneer Seeds’ trial manager to weigh, mulch and dry each hybrid to establish the potential feed quality of each. They established that they are contributing to the dairy industry by producing quality feed for the cows.
The team created lesson plans, teaching resources and games for each class for each of their initiatives. They taught the classes and also a second time to make a product from the produce of each farming initiative. Under their supervision classes felted with alpaca fibre, made dried fruit from the orchard, made Manuka balm from the native bush, made lip balm from bees wax and lavender balm and hydrosol spray from their lavender plants. Teachers have already planned a 4 term rotation to use each initiative as part of their annual curriculum plans for Technology, Science, Health and Social Science with their classes for 2015 and beyond and are excited about the possibilities it has brought to enhance real life education in science, technology and maths.
All the projects are now being sustained and further developed by the teachers and students of all the classes at Hukerenui School! A fantastic opportunity and way to apply knowledge and skills to real life learning!
The team competed in Auckland at the Future Problem Solving National Finals for and was placed first. They then represent New Zealand at the International Finals at Iowa State University, Iowa, Ames, USA in 2015 where they were awarded the grand champions – the overall winners of the primary school division. World champs!