STEM in Primary

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

Sunday, 22 July 2018

How to Implement STEM in Schools

How to Implement STEM in Schools

STEM continues to be a hot topic in education. Last week was the Conference of the Australian Science Teachers Association which had Australia's Chief Scientist deliver an address. In it he said "The time to ask and expect bold things from students is not at the end of the school education process – but from primary school." So the focus remains on primary schools to start doing their part in addressing this national issue.
Of course the question for just about all schools is what should they do and how should they go about it. I recently discovered Western Australia has put up four videos on YouTube which go through four different schools journey and each is slightly different so this is a great start for schools to get some ideas. The schools are Esperance Primary SchoolParkwood Primary SchoolMargaret River Primary School and Pannawonica Primary School. Also I have just listened to an excellent podcast entitled "Implementing the Digitech Curriculum" which details how some schools have gone about gearing up to deliver the Digital Technologies subject - I highly recommend listening to this.
One theme that I heard in some of the videos and the podcast is that schools used the new Digital Technologies subject to leverage off to build their STEM offering. Essentially the schools found that once the teachers started becoming confident with the coding aspect of the curriculum they could start to integrate this across other subjects and then with continued professional development become confident with the Design and Technologies subject which covers various engineering related areas.
Once the teachers are building their T for technology and E for engineering knowledge and skills I believe schools should then embark upon a program to upskill the teacher's knowledge and confidence in Maths and Science. Simultaneously, start to move towards more project based learning and you will find you have a school embracing STEM.
This would likely be a two to three year process and will cost money for teacher training and resources. However, it is a necessary investment to deliver the current curriculum well let alone meet the requirements that the STEM acronym stands for.

Stuff in the News

STEM plan: Why our kids need maths and science to thrive - Simon Birmingham, the Federal Education Minister, may not be a movie star or an astrophysicist but he has set a big goal for himself and the Government — lifting the standard of science and maths teaching across the nation’s schools and, by extension, the intelligence of our kids. An article from the West Australian 16 July 2018
SPEECH: Raising 21st Century Citizens - Australia's Chief Scientist spoke at the Conference for Australian Science Teachers and in his speech he said "The time to ask and expect bold things from students is not at the end of the school education process – but from primary school."
Julie Bishop on women’s empowerment, role models and the future for Australian Girls - Julie Bishop spoke at the Vogue Codes event and said in part "There is a lack of science teaching in primary schools, which leads to less focus on science and maths in secondary and tertiary education." An article from Vogue 22 June 2018

Stuff to buy

Robotics Engineer Barbie - Aims To Inspire Girls To Pursue STEM Careers.
*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

STEM - What is it for? - A great video from the SA Education Department explaining their view of what STEM in the classroom looks like
Implementing the Digitech Curriculum - How can teachers implement the digital technologies curriculum and apply it to the context of their school? Leading Change: The Technology in Schools podcast 12 July 2018
Teacher Q&A: Early years STEM project - Some positive results from the Early Learning STEM Australia project! An article from Teacher Magazine dated 27 June 2018

Stuff to do Australia Wide

2018 Australian STEM Video Game Challenge - The Australian STEM Video Game Challenge is completely free to enter. This year’s competition will run from Tuesday 20 Feb – Friday 3 August 2018
CSIRO CREST Program - CREativity in Science and Technology. Engage your students with open-ended science investigations and technology projects through the CREST program.
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Fizzics Education - Mobile workshops & shows by dedicated science educators NSW, VIC & QLD & ACT
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 global network of coding clubs for kids aged 9 to 11.

Stuff to do in Brisbane

RoboGals Brisbane Robotics Days - Robogals has various workshops programmed throughout the year.
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Street Science - Street Science provides captivating and curriculum aligned school Incursions and community entertainment, to excite and engage Australia's youth!
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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