The Wonder Project is Engineering New Zealand’s free programme for schools, designed to get young Kiwis excited about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Our series of project-based hands-on programmes knit seamlessly into the New Zealand school curriculum. Designed to spark wonder in young Kiwis from Year 5–13, our learning experiences make STEM super fun and engaging, and get students excited about a future STEM career.
How it works
We offer a series of in-class challenges that run during specified school terms each year. Our challenges deliver scaffolded learning and sustained engagement with STEM over a school term. We supply everything you need to have loads of fun with your students – student learning material, detailed lesson plans and teaching material, a free challenge kit, and a volunteer industry ambassador to help you in areas you may not feel so confident.
All our programmes are free, thanks to our funding partners, and open to any school in New Zealand. We design everything to be accessible for students across Aotearoa from all sorts of backgrounds, and want to help bridge the gap of women, Māori and Pasifika working in STEM fields.
"It's a hands-on, fun way to explore the learning areas of STEM. Students had to work through a process to see success. Everyone was so engaged and excited throughout the project."
Teacher - Conifer Grove School
How much time it takes
For our challenges, you’ll need an hour to meet with your Wonder Project Ambassador before you start running the programme in your class and some time for preparation work. Then, once the programme starts, you'll need to allow 1–2 hours each week for 6–8 weeks. For our STEM Careers programme, talks and workplace visits are provided on an ad hoc basis and run times vary.
How to get your school onboard
Running the Wonder Project programmes at your school takes time and resources. You’ll need some good reasons to get your principal to give you the go ahead. Start by telling them that the Wonder Project is an opportunity to:
- work with industry professionals and upskill
- provide project-based learning experiences
- get young women interested in STEM
- inspire a new generation of STEM professionals
- show students that science and maths are fun
- enhance the student experience of the curriculum.
Know nothing about STEM?
Don’t be nervous – we’ll give you all the resources you need, plus an industry professional that's a STEM expert. Once you’ve been accepted into the Wonder Project, you’ll have access to our online Learning Hub packed with student learning material, detailed lesson plans and teaching material that will show you how to run the challenge easily.
Working with your ambassador
You’ll be working alongside a Wonder Project Ambassador who is an expert in their field. So, even if you don’t have a STEM background, you can still run the Wonder Project! Working alongside an ambassador means you and your students get all the specialist support you need to run the programme you select over a school term. You’ll need to meet up with your ambassador beforehand so you’re prepared with everything you need to run the programme successfully.
Vaccinations for ambassadors
Under the Ministry of Health’s Public Health Order our Wonder Project Ambassadors are required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to volunteer at schools in person.
It is the responsibility of schools to keep vaccination status records of people covered by the Order. The Wonder Project and Engineering New Zealand will not be capturing vaccination details from ambassadors. We are advising all our ambassadors about their requirement to be vaccinated and to provide you that information if they want to participate in schools. We want to ensure as much as possible that you are only paired with vaccinated volunteers.
We're here to support you
The Wonder Project is Engineering New Zealand’s programme for schools and we’ll be with you every step of the way. We’ll be in touch with you before, during, and after the project, making sure you feel comfortable and supported. We have a dedicated team who will be available to answer your questions Monday to Friday. We also have a Wonder Project Community on Facebook where you can ask questions and get support from a network of teachers and STEM professionals.