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Published 7 November 2018

CRESTing 21st century Project-based Learning at Auckland Girls’ Grammar School

Thinking "outside of the box".


At Auckland Girls’ Grammar School, several teams of enthusiastic Year 9 and 10 students have worked with their software and mechanical engineer CREST mentors to develop innovative and exciting programmes and opportunities.


AGGS Bronze students

Back row: Monique ( Auckland University Mentor) with Alexandra, Jiya, Maninder, Pragati, Amiria Front row: Husna, Belle, Sharleen


Jia and Alexandra designed an intra-school social media platform where students can interact socially and academically with each other and their teachers. This platform enables students to be digital citizens, so that as well as accessing information they can also use it for collaborative learning. Here is the link to the website.

Husna worked independently. Her 'Matauranga Maori' based project saw her researching locally sourced plants in order to make a genuine New Zealand itchy-bite balm. Husna had to gain ethical approval to trial her cream and is now in the process of seeking more information about making it into a commercial venture. 

Sharleen, Bella and Maninder created a software design for a sensor which can be installed in cars so that in an event of an accident, data is transferred which alerts emergency services. This is especially useful if the incident occurs in an area with no phone access. The design required the students to use Raspberry pi and to learn coding. The software was trialed on toy cars to determine if the sensors picked up the impact through the coding instructions, and that message was transferred to a laptop/computer as an alert bell. This group has been thinking of ways to link with the 'Youth Enterprise Scheme'.

Pragati and Amiria had two ideas. A software design that worked similar to the ‘AT hop card’ system coded into the existing student ID cards, so that it works like the tag on/tag off system to make attendance recording easier for schools with students being able sign in and out of class. However, due to timing, cost, privacy and integration issues with the existing school student management system, the students 'Stage gated' their plan and put the project on hold. The students are now developing a sustainability project educating through action and how to reduce the risk of health concerns within our school. This new project also involves combining business skills and social enterprise goals and aspirations.

By doing these CREST projects our students were forced to think outside the box, be innovative, creative, to problem solve issues they identified around technology and environmental studies.

Students gained authentic experiences in:

  • Technological practice and/or scientific investigation;
  • Carrying out projects focusing on finding creative solutions to problems that are of real significance in their lives;
  • Creative and innovative thinking;
  • Developing enterprise and entrepreneurial skills and
  • Working with experts.

CREST provided a framework for 21st century Project based Learning with a STEM focus, and by working along the mentors they were able to experience what it means to be a ‘real scientist”.

Some of the girls are already thinking of extending their project into a business challenge (entrepreneurial idea) in the next year or so.

Written by Ashika Prasad, Auckland Girls' Grammar School.
Bronze CREST Supervising Teacher
2017 STLP participant teacher


Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi