Student science projects get the green light

Massey projects are looking to excite young New Zealanders about science

More than $100,00 of funding has been awarded to three Massey University projects from the Government’s Unlocking Curious Minds Contestable Fund.

The fund supports innovative projects that will excite and engage New Zealanders who have fewer opportunities to be involved with science and technology. The three Massey projects include programmes in climate change, biomechanics and GPS tracking of domestic cats.

More information about the Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund and other projects supported under Curious Minds can be found here.

The projects

New Zealand National Biomechanics Day: FORCE is needed to start a MOVEMENT - $47,973  
This project aims to celebrate the science of biomechanics [the study of forces and their effects on living organisms] with secondary school pupils across New Zealand, by connecting universities and schools in an experiential learning day on April 3.
It is hoped that by experiencing a university laboratory environment that secondary school pupils will be engaged to think critically and solve problems associated with biomechanics in everyday life.

The project will be led by Dr Sarah Shultz of the School of Sport and Exercise, and is a collaboration between Auckland University of Technology, University of Auckland, University of Waikato, University of Canterbury, and the University of Otago.

Experiential learning about climate change - $27,511

This project seeks to help students learn about climate change through a one-day workshop conducted at Massey University.

This will involve working with Massey scientists on climate change, in addition to a field visit to New Zealand Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Research Centre in Palmerston North. Students will be trained as “student citizen scientists” and receive kits to collect data about the science, impacts, and solutions to climate change.

The project will be led by Dr Jagadish Thaker of the School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing.

O tatou tamariki, nga Kaitiaki Taiao. Our children, our environmental guardians - $25,966

This project will teach young students about the home ranges of cats studying their daily wanderings using GPS. The Massey team will work with intermediate school pupils and their families to study predator foraging by tracking the movements of cats, challenging young learners at three schools on the Coromandel Peninsula to think critically about the impact of introduced predators on native animal populations.

The project will be led by Dr Daniel Thomas of the Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences.