S.T.E.M is an approach to learning and development that integrates the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
STEM Education is a term used to refer collectively to the teaching of the disciplines within its teaching umbrella, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and also to a cross-disciplinary approach to teaching (Education Council, Australia, 2015).
In the Victorian Curriculum, the Learning Area “Technologies” is made up of two strands, “Design and Technologies” and “Digital Technologies”. The Engineering component of STEM is taught through the Design and Technologies strand and the Technology component of STEM is taught through the Digital Technologies strand (Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, 2018).
The STEM program at Healesville Primary School is based around the key ideas of curiosity, problem solving and collaboration. Students in Foundation to Year 6 participate in weekly one hour STEM lessons with our STEM specialist teacher. Where they are given the opportunity to participate in a wide range of hands-on activities and challenges that revolve around Science, Design Technology and Digital Technology. We also offer a lunchtime STEM club where children can come and further their love of STEM.
In Foundation – Year 2, students are provided with practical activities, enabling them to further extend their thinking. Using a range of building materials to solve problems and tackle design challenges. Children begin to learn about STEM and the Design process through the use of Storybook STEM and then move on to more complex design, engineering and scientific concepts, such as force, light and sound, simple machines, materials and biological and chemical science.
In Years 3-6, students explore a range of scientific and engineering concepts using hands-on activities designed to awaken curiosity and encourage perseverance. There is a strong focus on developing higher-order thinking skills by emphasising collaboration, communication, research, problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity. Students work in groups to plan, design and build things such as bridges, rafts, hut, towers, marble mazes and electrical circuits
At Healesville Primary School we aim to equip our students with the digital skills necessary for both school and life. As such, we are a Google-enabled school and use Google Apps For Education as part of our teaching and learning program. We have a large bank of notebooks and iPads for use throughout the school, which can be found in all classrooms.
Digital technologies are an integral part of our STEM program. Where students have access to a variety of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) which enables them to develop their computer and technology skills in order to create and communicate information and ideas. We believe that it is important to equip students with skills for the future so in STEM class they have access to our programmable Sphero robotics balls and learn how to code using programs such as Scratch. They also learn how to use a green screen and make stop motion animation.
We understand that when children learn about and have access to digital technologies we have a responsibility to teach them how to use them correctly and how to stay safe whilst using them. Therefore our Digital Technologies program has a strong emphasis on cybersafety. Students are explicitly taught the skills they need to keep themselves and others safe online. Including learning about what information is okay to share online and cyberbullying.