Full steam ahead for the Super STEM Fair

Calling all scientists, technologists and engineers to-be! This is one science fair you do not want to miss! Head over to MOTAT on Sunday 8 April to meet the Kiwi specialists pushing the boundaries in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and experience the wonder behind the current slime craze, glow in the dark bugs, robots, volcanos and much more.

Hosted in partnership with the University of Auckland and the NZ Association of Scientists, this family focussed annual event brings the wonders of STEM into our everyday lives. Young and old will be inspired by the expertise and hands-on activities created by leading scientists and technologists from tertiary institutions and industries such as: Auckland, Canterbury and Massey Universities, AUT and the Association for Women in the Sciences.

Having worked on this collaborative event for several years, MOTAT’s Education Manager, Julie Baker says its escalating popularity, both with exhibitors and visitors, is remarkable. “This is one of my favourite special events at the Museum as it clearly shows MOTAT’s commitment to providing a hands-on learning experience for young Kiwis, allowing them to interact with the STEM community and leaders in these subjects” says Ms Baker. “There is a real appetite among young people to find out more about studying and working in the STEM fields, which I find encouraging. This is reflected in our attendance numbers which were up by 67% for the fair last year,” she says.

Auckland’s own Slime Princess, 11-year-old kiwi entrepreneur Katharina Weischede, will be at the Super STEM Fair to discuss the science behind her hugely popular slime products as she shares her business story and passion for this colourful, slippery product. If slime isn’t really your thing, then perhaps building your own robot or having a go on a hovercraft might grab your interest? Or if biology is entrenched in your genes then you’ll be delighted to get hands-on with biologists from Auckland University’s School of Biological Sciences as they demonstrate how to extract DNA from strawberries using every-day household equipment.

This year, the Museum will host the project based learning specialists from SkillTreeNZ at the fair, giving guests the opportunity to watch sculptor Mike Porter in action as he creates a blocked in half mask, a building for miniatures that is an amalgam of computer pieces, cardboard and other objects and fashions a simple prop helmet. When asked about the connection between creativity and science, Mr Porter emphasises that STEM subjects with the inclusion of art provide a more balanced approach to problem solving. “Expanding creativity in the arts allows people to think through logical problems in a non-linear way, so although SkillTreeNZ focuses on artistic endeavours, the outcome of those creative pieces is derived from STEM subjects.  Material sciences, engineering processes, technologies and maths are all needed to resolve a creative output,” he says.

A STEM Fair wouldn’t be complete without an impressive chemical reaction, so take a moment to consider Auckland’s volcanic hazards and risks while enjoying the explosive demonstrations from DEVORA’s real-life volcano and earthquake scientists.  This is your chance to get wrapped up with Maths origami, dig up a dinosaur, take a virtual reality journey in a tank full of protein molecules and watch them assemble into a giant structure, examine the micro-world through a Foldscope lens, and get right up close to a 3D printer in action.

It’s all happening at the Super STEM Fair, stimulating and encouraging young minds to pursue their interest in the intriguing worlds of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

In celebration of all things STEM, MOTAT is inviting all registered teachers to bring their families along to the Museum free of charge throughout April (including the Super STEM Fair) on presentation of their current Practising Certificate. For more information, please see the MOTAT website: www.motat.org.nz  or follow the Museum’s Facebook page.


Notes to the Editor:
Institutions and specialists continue to sign up for the Super STEM Fair but those who have confirmed their participation include:

  • Slime Princess, Katharina Weischede
  • SkillTree NZ Ltd  
  • Critical Design
  • STEM Fern
  • Dr Siouxsie Wiles from the University of Auckland
  • University of Auckland:
    • Computer Science Department
    • School of Biological Sciences
    • Department of Mathematics
    • Department of Physics
    • Early Learning Lab, School of Psychology
  • NZ Institute of Language, Brain and Behaviour, University of Canterbury
  • AWIS (Association for Women in the Sciences)
  • DEVORA (Determining Volcanic Risk in Auckland)
  • Massey University
  • AUT

MOTAT – 805 Great North Road, Western Springs, Auckland
Date: Sunday 8 April 2018
Time: 10am to 4pm

Normal MOTAT admission fees apply:
$45 Family Pass (2 adults, 4 children)
$19 Adults
$10 Students/children 5-16 years
Free for MOTAT Mates, children under 5 and SuperGold Cardholders

For further information, photos, media passes or interviews, please contact:
Vanessa Hefer
MOTAT Communications Advisor
Phone: (09) 845 3703, Mobile: (021) 340 518
Email: vanessa.hefer@motat.org.nz