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Nov 21, 2017

Case study: The Growing NZ Innovation Challenge

The Growing NZ Challenge is a five-lesson programme that challenges year 9-11 students to research a real problem within the context of the primary industries. The challenge mashes STEM with business in a fun and interesting way.

IMG 8518 Hamish DairyNZ with group working on water topic

Through this programme students will learn to investigate a problem within the primary industries, develop potential solutions, build a prototype for the solution they have developed and present this persuasively to their stakeholders.


This year, multiple teachers took this resource and incorporated it into their classroom through various subjects such as social studies, technology and science.


Teachers said the resource was easy to use and had students thinking outside of the box. Being agricultural based, it drew students in “Some students really got into the design and creative aspect. They enjoyed using the technology enablers to overcome their given issue.”


One of the challenges given to students was to come up ways of maintaining water supply. A group of students identified an issue with farmers being unable to quickly identify water leakage on their farms. Their solution was to install a water pressure detection device in pipes which detects increase or decrease of pressure within the pipes that then sends a signal to your smartphone notifying you if the issue.


Another challenge given to students was to come up with a solution for pest control. As technology is becoming more advanced the possibilities of application become endless. One group of students has come up with a sensor which detects harmful pests which could be used on the wide-scale farming of crops. 


“The Growing NZ Challenge is a very unique resource – it is very different compared to what teachers usually teach, yet it is easy to implement. It is innovative, collaborative and does not judge a student entirely on their literacy abilities.” Steve Aldhamland, St Andrews College