Wonder Week 2019

Insight .

Encouraging young minds.

Wonder Week is an amazing nationwide event encouraging high school students to explore the possibility of STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Students get a real-world glimpse into these fields by going behind the scenes at some of New Zealand’s successful engineering firms, manufacturers, research centres and technology companies.

We jumped at the chance to have students visit our test lab to get some hands-on experience.

Teaming up with Burnside High School, we arranged a bunch of Year 12 and 13 students to come and spend the day onsite with us. We showed them the amazing projects we get to do; crashing cars, inventing thrill rides, building smarter, full-scale testing and heaps of other cool stuff.

Then the shake-table fun began.

In teams of four, the students built structures out of noodles, marshmallows and a small amount of tape. The structures then got up close and personal with our full-scale shake table. The results were great and the students enjoyed seeing the effect that seismic events have on buildings. There were quite a few noodles and marshmallows to clean up afterwards, and many marshmallows were consumed – for research purposes of course!


As a final task, we set up a pendulum impact test where we could swing a mass into a roadside barrier. The students calculated the impact velocity using conservation of energy principles and found out where the highest kinetic energy was transferred on the barrier and then tested their results through experimentation. They must have paid attention in Physics class!

It’s always great having students on site. They bring youthful energy and remind us that the future looks bright!

We can’t wait to be part of this event next year.

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