STEM in Primary

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

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Let's Build a Makerspace!

Stuff this week - Let's Build a Makerspace!

Some schools have embarked on structured coding or robotics or more general STEM programs. Others however have created an open environment for kids to create in. The Makerspace. Born out of a DIY tech sub-culture makerspaces can offer the freedom for children to create whatever they can imagine. The Australian Government believes in the skills that such a space can develop and offers funding for schools to create them.
As with everything I think planning is essential. So if you are thinking that this might be something great for your school you can have a look at "What Should I buy for my New Makerspace?". Just like the best STEM activities open ended exploration and creation should be the end goal. This will cultivate the maker mindset where experimentation, design, creation and failure are the tools of the trade. Children are able to think big to solve the problems that they see around them making this learning relevant.
Schools can start small with tech such as the $25 Micro:Bit which can be used to create wearable creations which switch on lights or display scrolling messages. As they learn kids can progress to building their own robot for less that $20 in parts! Of course 3D printers (and laser cutters at some schools) add another dimension to the creative options.
At the end of the day what is required is a will to build a space for children to create in and then the development of a vision for how this can be achieved. The kids will do the rest! As the article How Should We Measure the Impact of Makerspaces? neatly summarises what kids will get out of these spaces is a new way of thinking and those all important 21st Century Skills.
If you are thinking kids get all the cool stuff these days well don't fret as there are adult versions of Makerspaces all over Australia just like Hackerspace Brisbane.

Stuff in the news

Schools Must Get The Basics Right Before Splashing Out On Technology - The question now isn’t whether technology has a place in schools, but which devices would work best: laptops, tablets, smartphones or something else entirely? An article from The Tech Advocate 7 June 2017
Coding: the skill you need to learn - No longer one of the dark arts of the information revolution, coding is now a mainstream workplace skill that UK business leaders need to embrace – and quickly. An article from Director - Inspiring Business website 31 May 2017
Robotics leader named a Superstar of STEM - Dr Sue Keay will be a mentor and role model for young women in STEM across Australia. An article from QUT News 7 July 2017
Southern councils band behind university’s STEM project - STEM is not just an education project and that is why Infrastructure Australia have put it on their priority list. An article from The Mercury 27 July 2017

Stuff to buy

Latest on Kickstarter:
*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

Aussie students vying for gold in maths and science Olympiads - The country's former chief scientist Ian Chubb said the Olympiads were "essential in capturing high-achieving students' interest in science and mathematics at a critical stage". An article from ABC News 22 July 2017.
112 students, one classroom - Inaburra school in Sydney's south has placed all year 5 and 6 students into an open-plan room with five teachers. An article from the Sydney Morning Herald 20 May 2017

Stuff to do Australia Wide

Opportunities and Obstacles for STEM Education - Free public lecture at the University of Melbourne 15 August 2017
Program Computers to Talk - Coding with Speech Synthesis for Kids - Read this blog post from Tech Age Kids to see how you can get your kids into experimenting with speech synthesis. Its easier that it sounds!
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.
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

EKKA Scratch Coding and 3D Modelling Challenge - Submit entries online for display at the Ekka from 17 August 2017
SLQ Digital Futures - Each year the State Library of Queensland presents a theme of interest to the Queensland community. Throughout 2017, they invite you to join in exploring Digital Futures.
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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STEM in a Box has ongoing coding, robotics and 3D printing activities
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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