Wow, this is awesome! I love this… were comments from some of our students this week when they had the opportunity to build an iPad and then code it. A team from 56 Creations visited our upper primary students and spent the day working with them on STEM related projects. Year Six learnt a great deal about entrepreneurship and how to think creatively, while students in Years Four and Five put together the ‘hardware’ for an iPad and virtual reality goggles. It was a very exciting day and allowed the students to develop a better understanding of STEM and its importance in our world. The students all took home their personal set of virtual reality googles that they constructed. They were clearly thrilled with their efforts and I am sure this generated a lot of discussion around the dinner table.
Some people may ask, ‘What’s the big deal with STEM?’ or ‘What is STEM?’ Why do we need to put such a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths? STEM permeates every area of our lives, without us really thinking about it. Science and mathematics are everywhere, technology is consistently changing and re-shaping the way we do things, and engineering is essential for solving the major problems the world faces now and in the future. By teaching children STEM related concepts we are helping them to be better equipped for the future. We are also showing them the possibilities that STEM provides and helping them develop the attitudes and skills to be successfully pro-active in the future.
With our International Baccalaureate PYP curriculum framework STEM is woven into the units of inquiry and every child in St John’s Primary benefits from learning about STEM concepts in a transdisciplinary way. The word ‘transdisciplinary’ is teacher jargon for learning that is not limited to specific subject areas. Instead, the learning encompasses a range of universal understandings and integrated subjects and it explores issues by looking at them through the perspectives of the different disciplines or subjects.
Transdisciplinary learning is also relevant to the real world. It promotes a depth of understanding as well as adaptability and the skills needed for future success in our changing world. It encourages students to inquire, ask questions and really wonder about their world, rather than passively memorise information that they are given. This makes learning fun and students are far more engaged and interested in class.
Our teachers have developed six transdisciplinary units of inquiry for each year level and I am sure the children are going to be keen to talk to their families about their learning and experiences in each unit. It will be interesting to see where their learning in STEM takes them beyond the current year level. If you have any questions about STEM or our PYP program please feel free to talk to your child’s teacher or make a time to see Mr Brownlow or myself. We love sharing information about the great programs at St John’s.
Head of Primary