Howick College wins Ministry funding for new curriculum

Innovation Stream Students holding their 3D Printed Mars Rovers and products they made out of recycled material. From left: Logan Clarke, Emily Speed, Russell Webb and Emma Bingham.

An innovative new curriculum has seen Howick College awarded funding from the Ministry of Education.

Howick College’s Innovation Stream has received $80,000 from the Ministry’s Teacher Led Innovation fund which will be used to upskill teachers to continue delivering the new curriculum.

The curriculum is designed to make students creative, critical, perceptive and integrated thinkers using future focussed learning, says curriculum leader Angela McCamish.

Instead of taking the traditional core subjects of mathematics, science, English and social studies, these subjects are incorporated into new areas of learning, called Innovation Stream courses.

These courses still include the same curriculum content as the core subjects; however the content is integrated across the focus areas of Community Action, Creative Design, Problem Solving and Future Studies.

“Each course incorporates two mainstream subjects. Future Studies combines science and English. We study science based topics but English comes into it when students write reports, critique their own work or analyse articles,” says Ms McCamish.

She says the big difference in this curriculum is not what is being taught, but in the way content is applied and assessed.

In the traditional science experiment of drop the egg, where students build a contraption to protect the egg from breaking when it is dropped from a significant height, the innovation stream used 3D printers to print their designs of a mars rover to protect the egg during the experiment.

McCamish says students will have the ability and knowledge to sit mainstream exams, but will be better developed in six key areas of learning: Character, citizenship, communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.

“This isn’t a class just for the gifted and talented, this is for students who are passionate and think a bit differently from the rest,” says associate principal Louise Addision.

“We want to prepare students to thrive in a world driven by technology, to take initiative, collaborate with others and use a range of expertise to create new things,” she says.

This year was the first time running the innovation stream with a year nine class of 28 students. The school is currently taking applications for next year’s innovation stream classes, which will include two year nine classes and one Year 10 class.

The aim is to eventually adapt the curriculum to provide a level one and level two NCEA curriculums in the coming years, the pair say.

Applications for the 2018 Innovation Stream classes close on August 25, 2017.

More information about the Innovation Stream is available at the Howick College office or by contacting Angela McCamish: Angela.McCamish@howick.school.nz