STEM in Primary

STEM in Primary
A blog for those interested in primary school STEM education

Saturday, 27 May 2017

STEM in the Classroom

Stuff this week - STEM in the Classroom

In the last year I have started an extra-curricular STEM program at my girls' school. It is very popular with all sessions filling up as soon as they are made available and we have a great group of volunteers to run the one hour sessions. Whilst this is fantastic and shows the level of interest from kids and parents it was not my original pitch to the school.
Originally I had proposed that the school embrace STEM in the classroom. This was motivated from reading articles such as “Calls mount for primary school teacher STEM focus”, “Transforming STEM teaching in Australian primary schools: everybody’s business” and “Making STEM a primary priority”. I also became aware of a variety of primary schools around Australia doing great things such as “Gordon East Public School”, “Rostrata Primary School” and “Iona Primary School.”
Last weekend my family went to Bulimba State School for their inaugural STEAM Expo. It was a great day out and was interesting talking to the leaders at this school. Their programs have been strongly encouraged by the parent body. They have a P&C STEAM sub-committee who organise events at the school and work with the school's leadership team to shape the strategic plans for integrating STEAM education principles into every classroom. It was evident that sound planning is essential but also how progress can be slow.
In April an article in USNEWS showed that the desire to get STEM into the classroom is a global issue and an organisation called IGNITE MY FUTURE has been created with the goal of getting more STEM teaching practices into USA schools. 
It is already Australian Government policy to restore the focus on STEM in schools and the Queensland Government is fast-tracking the Digital Technologies Curriculum in State Schools yet despite this there are only pockets of educators discussing what can be done. Schools are just not taking the initiative to develop a plan. Based on the Bulimba State School experience I believe that unless many parents start asking questions about what the school is going to do to improve STEM teaching then change will remain anaemic. The answer to these questions must have SMART goals with measurable outcomes. Our kids need no less.

Stuff in the news

Australians need to ‘wake up’ to the robot threat - Millions of Australians are destined for the unemployment queue if they don’t “wake up” to the robot revolution, warns futurist Shara Evans. An article from 4 May 2017

Stuff to buy

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine -  Ada Lovelace, the daughter of the famous romantic poet, Lord Byron, develops her creativity through science and math. Beautifully written and illustrated.
Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code - The picture book biography of Grace Hopper—the boundary-breaking woman who revolutionized computer science.
12 Inspiring STEM Books for Girls - An article from Edutopia 15 May 2017.
*At this point in time I earn no money from any product I list and I am not affiliated with any other company.

Stuff in education

Coding: Drones could close 'huge skill gap' for high school students, teacher says- An article from The Sydney Morning Herald 22 April 2017
Report urges educators to integrate STEM in pre-K - An article fromEducationDive 22 May 2017

Stuff to do Australia Wide

Australian STEM Video Game Challenge - For grades 5+.The Australian STEM Video Game Challenge will ask participants to develop games in response to a central theme or idea. Registration open 1 May and submissions close 25 August.
Young ICT Explorers -  A non-profit competition, which has been created by SAP to encourage school students to create their best Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related projects. Registrations are OPEN. See the YouTube video here!
CSIRO CREST Program - CREativity in Science and Technology. Engage your students with open-ended science investigations and technology projects through the CREST program.
Edutech 2017 - EduTECH is the LARGEST education event in Asia-Pac and the Southern Hemisphere. 7-9 June 2017 in Sydney.
National Science Week - Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology and thousands of individuals – from students, to scientists to chefs and musicians – get involved, taking part in more than 1000 science events across the nation. 12 - 20 August 2017
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Young Engineers Australia - Provides an engaging, hands-on learning platform using LEGO® and K’nex® assembly kits
CoderDojo - A volunteer run programming club
Code Club Australia - A network of coding clubs for kids aged 9 to 11.

Stuff to do in Brisbane

Robotronica 2017 - Robotronica is a groundbreaking one-day event showcasing the latest developments in robotics and interactive design. QUT's The Cube 20 August 2017 
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Brisbane Library Service has purchased the very flash NAO Robot and is showing it off in various libraries.
The Cube at QUT has a number of changing programs. 
Brisbane Planetarium - Features entertaining and informative shows for adults and children
STEAMPUNX - Not to be confused with the organisation above! Offers in-school and out of school workshop programs
Flying Fox Studios - A studio offering programs in the arts, music and construction areas from babies to teenagers in Brisbane
It's Rocket Science School Incursions - Educational and fully interactive project based rocket science incursions for primary and secondary schools in a safe and empowering learning environment.

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