Students become weta hotel extraordinaires

Mission Heights Junior College with their weta hotels in the Tane forest.

Mission Heights Junior College Year 8 students have participated in an innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) project by creating ‘weta hotels’.

The STEM projects had the students design and make a habitat for native weta to eventually be put in the school’s forest (Tane).

They learned about the native weta species and how they played a key role in the ecosystem development.

During technology and maths, they looked at the design process through design briefs and specific specifications for their weta hotels.

A weta hotel, or motel, is a dry hole that weta can crawl into, safe from predators.

Finally, students needed to write a report of their design brief and understanding of the decision process.

“They had specifications they needed to meet in order for them to launch their design into a hotel,” Aly Grant, the communications co-ordinator for Mission Heights Junior College, said.

The completed hotels were placed on trees in the school’s section of native forest so the weta can take advantage of them.

“The project was fun as it made us problem-solve with our peers to create a home for weta,” one of the students said.

“Understanding the weta’s shape and size helped me design a hotel that would actually work for the insect.”

The student said that fixing the hotels to the trees made “me feel more connected to our school’s forest”.