Exploration Station Explained

What is the Exploration Station?

It's one of the many spaces we have at Sunnyhills to explore, search, imagine, and create.  The space is set up a little differently from our regular classrooms and has a few extra tools,  it will eventually work in similar ways to a community Makerspace and STEAM Lab.  Each class will be visiting the space multiple times during the year.

Have you heard of Google Bard & Chat GPT?  We've been having a look at these tools in the Exploration Station recently.  Check out the poem below created with the help of Google Bard:

The Exploration Station 

The Exploration Station, a place of wonder, 

Where dreams are made and minds are stretched. 

With robots, Chromebooks, Cardboard Mountain, scissors, sellotape and glue, 

There's something for everyone to explore. 

From coding to engineering, art and design, 

The Exploration Station is a place Where creativity is unleashed. 

Here, students are encouraged to be curious, 

To ask questions and experiment. 

They learn how to use science, mathematics, and technology 

To solve problems and make a difference. 

The Exploration Station is a place 

Where students can grow and learn. 

Maker Spaces

What is a Makerspace?

A Makerspace is a place to house a wide variety of tools and resources for people to use.  Makerspaces vary widely in their purpose and what they are stocked with.  There are quite a few community Makerspaces in Auckland.  Check out the links below for more information about them.

Our space at Sunnyhills will utilise a classroom and will be setup with plenty of resources that will help us with our learning when we visit the space.  At Sunnyhills, students will visit the Makerspace during the year and work on a variety of challenges related to their interests, current learning areas as well as computational thinking and designing and developing digital outcomes (part of the technology curriculum).    

Our space isn't about having lots of new technology gadgets, although we won't say no, if you're keen to donate some to us.  The tools we will have in our space will be extremely useful when exploring, imagining and creating to solve challenges and problems.  They might be different to the tools we use every day in our classrooms.  

More details about Makerspaces in the New Zealand education context can be found here this includes a video with Kim Barnes who talks about the Makerspace at Tuapaki School.  

What do we do in our Makerspace?

Check out our Exploration Station Learning Showcases to see what we're doing right now in our space.  You can also check out our timetable for more information about what's coming up soon.  When we're working in our space our creations can be resolutions to problems and needs we've identified at Sunnyhills, challenges our teachers and community have created or an idea we want to bring to life.  

As we work in the Makerspace we'll be moving through our learning pathway based on the ideas, challenges and problems we have chosen to tackle.  It is very likely that while we're making we'll end up in the learning pit as we prototype, test and retest our ideas.  We'll be using and developing our GEMs to help us move through the learning pit. 

Auckland Makerspaces

There are a variety of spaces around Auckland that you can become part of and use.  Many Makerspace originate in libraries but not all of them are in library spaces.  Here are just a few you might like to investigate further... 



As defined by Susan Riely, Arts Integration Specialist


STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking.

Also defined by Core Education as rather than teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into 'interdependent' learning units based on real-world applications.


At Sunnyhills we use the principles of STEAM and STEM in our Exploration Station where students learn and create using a real world application like making a robot that sorts rubbish or teaching others about how to create strong passwords through a Scratch game.  

This video also helps to explain what STEM & STEAM are:

These and other definitions and resources about STEAM/STEM in a New Zealand context can be found here on TKI -Te Kete Ipurangi on the Enabling E Learning page.

The New Zealand Technology Curriculum

A lot of what we do in The Exploration Station relates to our New Zealand Technology curriculum, especially within the technological areas of - computational thinking and designing and developing digital outcomes.

You can find the technology curriculum here

Most of our students are working a level 1, 2 and 3 of the current curriculum.