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Photo by Clare Coulson-Dalton

Ignition on!

Clare Coulson-Dalton —

Flying ping-pong balls, projectiles, catapults and creativity were the order of the day at the first of the Ignite Programme’s Ignition Days this year.

A group of 60 Y9 and Y10 Ignite extension students gathered in Ngā Puāwaitanga to put their problem solving skills to the test in a series of STEM-related challenges on Tuesday 31st May. The aim of the day was to not only explore new ideas through lateral and innovative thinking, but also to promote inter-year level co-operation and foster communication and collaboration. Conversation between the year levels was stilted for all of five minutes and from then on the day was a whirlwind of creative activity.

First up: a 'wordle' to get the brains warmed up, followed by a longer challenge that required the students to work out how to keep a ping pong ball in the air for the longest time using predominantly rubber bands, ice-block sticks and a balloon. Many an inventive solution was thought up, but the winners of this section managed to keep their ping pong airborne for 1.2 sec.

The second main challenge was to transform the contraptions into something that could be more accurate and could fire the ping pong balls into various sized containers placed at increasing distances. A surprise six-pointer straight out of the gate won the day for team ‘Ben 10’ to raucous applause. Their ‘lacrosse stick’ style solution was simple yet effective and garnered them 11 points across three throws versus 3 as the next best score.

Asked to describe the day, the students said variously, “interesting”, “challenging”, “different in a good way” and “really fun”. A personal favourite description was “slay”! A big thank you to Mr Mounsey and Mrs Semmens from the Science Department for all their hard work in bringing this day to fruition and to the Ignite girls for making it such fun. Plans are already afoot for another inspiring Ignition Day later in the year.