The finalists for the Skills Bright Sparks Competition have been announced, with a number of entries addressing environmental issues – indicating that the health of our planet is a major concern for Kiwi youth.
Skills Bright Sparks is New Zealand’s preeminent and longest running national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) competition for primary and secondary school students.
It receives entries from across a broad spectrum of digital, engineering and creative technologies that look to solve common problems or issues the students have identified. From apps and gadgets, to experiments and revolutionary machinery, the competition always shows a huge depth of innovation and creativity – with previous winners having gone on to jobs with the likes of Google, Microsoft, Instagram and IBM.
This year, however, the judges noticed that a large number of entries were very clearly focused on addressing environmental concerns.
“The level of innovation and entries Skills receives to the competition always blow us away,” says Garry Fissenden, Skills Group CEO. “This year, however, it was really evident that what many of our students are very focused on is solutions to issues that impact our environment.”
From a shower timer designed to save water and encourage shorter showers, to an automated weed killer for farming, a project addressing soil leaching to minimise impact on New Zealand Rivers and streams, and a device that measures levels of e-coli in our waterways, the finalists’ projects show a wide range of designs for a broad spectrum of eco-concerns.
Students entered the competition via the Skills Bright Sparks website. This involved submitting a video that demonstrated their project and detailed the technical elements involved. Judging took place on 2 October by a specialist panel including experts from Skills Group, Rocket Lab, ASB, The Resource Guys, Flexware as well as a number of former Bright Sparks winners.
The awards ceremony The winners of the Skills Bright Sparks competition for 2019 will be announced at the Auckland awards ceremony at Datacom on Thursday 7 November.