STEM | ED Magazine Issue 3

Page 1

STEM || ED STEM ED M MAGAZINE AGAZINE

A DOSE OF DAILYSTEM

Find out more about DailySTEM Author and Podcast Host Chris Woods in our Interview this month

FIRST LEGO LEAGUE

Find out first-hand about First LEGO League from two schools across the globe.

STEMIFYING THE LIBRARY One teacher's story on how she integrates STEM in her library practice.

CHIEF SCIENCE OFFICERS

Fostering students' passion for Science through empowering leadership

3 e u s sI | 1 2 0 2 e n u J

PROUDLY SPONSORED BY


Acknowledgement of Country WE

ACKNOWLEDGE

TORRES THE

STRAIT

TRADITIONAL

AUSTRALIA

AND

CONTINUING WATERS, PAY

OUR

PAST,

AND

ABORIGINAL

ISLANDER OWNERS

PEOPLE

CONNECTION

RESPECTS PRESENT

TO

AND

AS

THROUGHOUT

ACKNOWLEDGE

CULTURE.

AND

WE

TO

THEIR LAND,

WISH

THEIR

TO

ELDERS

EMERGING.


IN THIS ISSUE 07

FOREWORD: ENGAGEMENT AND MOTIVATION - IS THERE A RELATION IN THE CLASSROOM? Cameron Ross

38

THE POWER OF PLAY IN THE PRIMARY CLASSROOM Dr Stephanie Smith

41

MAKING HEXAGONS – CHANGING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT ONE BLOCK AT A TIME Cassandra Lowry

44

STEM: AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN SOCIAL SKILLS Claira Wilson

E D U C A T O R

11

S T E M

16

S P O T L I G H T

47

A DOSE OF DAILYSTEM: AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS WOODS I N S I G H T S

F R O M

E V I D E N C E

OUTCOMES IN STEM BESIDES ACHEIVEMENT

Amanda Buschmann

51

DESIGNTASTIC!

54

CHIEF SCIENCE OFFICERS EXPERIENCE PRACTICAL LEARNING ABOUT STEM AND LEADERSHIP

Sarah Dunifon

19

CAN ROBOTS SUPPORT SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT?

EQUITABLE ACCESS TO DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGIES IN AUSTRALIA - ARE WE THERE YET?

57

60

A FIRST LEGO LEAGUE JOURNEY

63

INCLUDEDU.ONLINE - ENSURING ALL LEARNERS HAVE ACCESS TO A PERSONALISED LEARNING EXPERIENCE

LEADING A CULTURE OF STEM EDUCATION AT YOUR SCHOOL - A PLAN FOR ACTION

R E S O U R C E

INSPIRING AN INNOVATION MINDSET Emily Hunt

31

MAKER CAMP SHOULD BE A PART OF YOUR SUMMER THIS YEAR

35

I N

P R A C T I C E

A MOVING LESSON; THE KINDNESS CAMPAIGN Tricia Fuglestad

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

C O R N E R

66

REGULAR FEATURE: BOOK NOOK

71

RESOURCE REVIEW: HIGH POSSIBILITY STEM CLASSROOMS

72

RESOURCE REVIEW: CSIRO PUBLISHING

73

REGULAR FEATURE: #STEMEDMAGAZINE FEATURES

Sandy Roberts

S T E M

Aisha Kristiansen

Ryan Evans

Lucas Johnson

28

FIRST LEGO LEAGUE - MORE THAN A COMPETITION Dr Charlotte Forwood and Ishana Suriyapperuma

Monique Dalli

26

Nikki Vreugdenhil

Claire LaBeaux

Dr Sarika Kewalramani, Dr Ioanna Palaiologou, Professor John SirajBlatchford, Dr Maria Dardanou

24

THE STEMBRARY SHIFT: TRANSFORMING LIBRARIES INTO STEM HUBS

| 03


founder's note It seems like such a short time ago I was writing the note for Issue 2, and now Issue 3 has quickly come upon us. This issue comes at a time, for many educators, of busyness, stress and anxiety. I send my thoughts and prayers particularly to our colleagues in Victoria - and across the world - who are still in lockdown and remote learning. I hope this magazine can provide some encouragement, support and inspiration for your practice at such a challenging time. For me, we are in the middle of reporting season; a time that I reflect on the individual learning and growth of each of

my

students,

and

how

I

can

best

share

these

developments with their parents. And while the academic achievements of my students are definitely worth noting, I am finding more and more that it is their social and emotional development that requires more time and energy to report on. With the increase of mental health issues in students of all ages, coupled with the global pandemic we're all currently clawing our way through, it is even more vital that educators focus on the social and emotional needs of their students. One of the things that stood out to me this Issue of STEM ED when chatting with educators and compiling their stories was their focus on the social and emotional needs of students.

Articles

such

as

Claira

Wilson's

'STEM:

An

opportunity to learn social skills', and Dr Sarika Kewalramani and colleagues' article 'Can robots support social and emotional development?' have a clear focus on these development areas. However, when reading through the key ideas of the other articles in this issue, the notions of engagement, motivation, student voice, student leadership, equity, and kindness are all central to social and emotional development for our students. It is evident that all these contributors are extremely passionate about STEM education; but are also equally passionate about the needs of their students. I hope that their stories inspire, invigorate and encourage you as you also work daily to support the needs of the students in your classroom.

Fi Morrison Founder, STEM ED Magazine hello@stemedmagazine.com


celebrate success and guide each other to be more

editor's note

effective in our own practice. This month from my own classrooms I have started little threads on Tik

Digital threads and the value of creating our own teacher portraits.

Tok so we can showcase successes in a digital manner such as our Sophia and her very first lesson

Stories of successes from our classrooms have

teaching how to unpack a problem in Numeracy. I

always excited me and until the last 5 years I have

am thrilled to say she has had 300,000 views.

often felt a touch sad, for teachers had little

Edition 3 of our magazine is another way we can

opportunity to share the buzz of successes we see

showcase and continue to create richer tapestries of

each day in our own classrooms beyond maybe a

the lives of teachers. I have noticed this magazine

quick chat in the staffroom. In the last 15 years or

has its own tapestry as we see common themes or

so the idea of Digital Literacies has come to the

threads going across each article making a collective

forefront in Education and we teachers can share

tapestry. This tapestry is a story of community, a

a thread or strand from our own lived experiences

desire to see our students succeed, and a desire for

or stories beyond those quick chats at morning

teachers to empower each other. It does not get

tea

much better than that for me!

in

staffrooms

because

of

social

media

platforms including Instagram, Twitter and most

For Tik Tok go to Sandy Nicoll here.

recently for me Tik Tok. In my PhD I call these stories Portraits and each event or experience is a thread making up a rich tapestry of our own lives as teachers. I proposed teachers can create

Dr Sandy Nicoll Editor @PSTchat- moderator

Digital Portraits to show the rich tapestries we weave in our own classrooms regardless of where we might live and teach. This magazine is affording us teachers an opportunity to explain our threads, to unpack our stories so we can

https://www.moadoph.gov.au/learning/teachers/digitalexcursions/you-me-and-sustainability-digital-workshop/



S T E M

E D U C A T I O N

Listening to the latest podcast by Vicki Davis on The Ten Minute Podcast discussing engagement

|

F O R E W O R D

know underpinning STEM like communication, collaboration and problem solving.

in the classroom and how another educator uses

What comes to mind as I write this Foreword is

technology to do so, encouraged me to think

a TED talk by Dan Pink which considered,

about how engagement and motivation can be

autonomy, mastery and purpose.

developed in my own classroom.

Autonomy, mastery and purpose can all work

Throughout my master’s degree in Digital

positively towards our students being able to

Learning, being able to research a range of topics

achieve

on student engagement and motivation in the

incorporating

classroom and how it can assist students in their

curriculum, I was able to provide students with

studies often led me to reflect upon my own

the opportunity to achieve mastery and purpose

practice in areas like STEM. I found that some of

in an environment that was safe for them to ask

the

learning

questions, which in turn gave them the license to

environment is when teachers aspire to provide a

explore new ways of learning. As Lee (2014) states

positive classroom where students can try new

“schools

can

things, they do not fear failure at any point and

because

student

feel confident to ask questions of their teacher.

associated with school experiences and teaching

This

topics

practice can be improved to enhance student

alongside their peers as they learn from each

engagement in learning” (p.184). A teaching tool

other. Groundwater-Smith, Le Cornu, and Ewing

that I have recently come across that has helped

(2006) note “effective communicators also need

my students drive their own learning is Google

to possess an attitude of respect and acceptance.

Jamboard. Jamboard allows learning to occur is a

Self-acceptance

range

main

factors

includes

impacting

enjoying

requires

on

a

investigating

self-awareness"(p.218).

anything

of

in

STEM

their into

promote

my

student

engagement

methods,

learning.

including

By

classroom

engagement

is

significantly

brainstorming,

As educators and learners alike, being able to

explicit teaching, collaboration and especially

understand and regard the individuals within the

interactive

classroom will portray a sense of respect that will

demonstrate mastery of their learning outside of

in turn provide an engaging and positive learning

what is deemed “normal”.

to

give

students

an

avenue

to

environment for all. This is really about skills we

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

| 07


When we try to understand how motivation can improve

student

outcomes,

McDonald

Accomplishment can be achieved in many ways,

(2019)

and one of which is the linking the use of

notes “effort is more important to academic

Micro.bit’s and the UN’s Sustainable Development

success than pure IQ. Students will work hard and

Goals to allows my students a chance to work in

achieve more if the effort they have put in is

collaboration to design prototypes.

acknowledged by the teacher” (p. 121). Throughout

Rita Pierson’s video titled “Every Kid needs a

my many classes, providing STEM opportunities

Champion” resonated with me as it reinforces

for students in the classroom, gave experiences

when creating that meaningful environment for

that allowed them to feel content and the

each and every student in your classroom, as an

confidence to want to work to their best. Students

educator we have the chance to make a lasting

who can motivate themselves, through wanting to

impression on how they can achieve anything.

improve their own work is known as intrinsic

McDonald (2019) reminds us “students need

motivation. Marsh et al. (2015) suggests this idea

clarity on teachers’ expectations of behaviour for a

and

range of classrooms and school routines and

note

“learners

experience

feeling

of

competence and autonomy, intrinsic motivation is

procedures” (p. 122).

maintained and achievement is enhanced” (p.78).

One of the keys for motivating my students in

In my classroom, stiving to provide my students

each class is to provide positive reinforcement

will smaller achievable tasks (especially scaffolded

that they can achieve any task set before them by

tasks that allowed for peer and teacher feedback)

working hard and asking questions whenever they

allows them the opportunity to build confidence

require assistance. Marsh et.al (2015)suggests that

which I have found at times can build their

“student’s beliefs about themselves as learners

motivation. Kuh (2007) sees student engagement

and the nature of learning have a marked

as

effective

influence on motivation" (p.125).Motivational and

practices, both inside and outside the classroom,

emotional factors also influence both the quality

which leads to a range of measurable outcomes”

of

(p. 3). Peer, self, and teacher driven feedback in

processing as well as an individual’s motivation to

the STEM classroom can look different to many,

learn. Marsh et.al (2015) goes on to suggest

however for me using Google Forms has provided

“intrinsic motivation can include enthusiastic task

an opportunity not only for me as an educator to

involvement, desire to experience adventure and

better understand how students comprehend the

novelty, striving for excellence in one’s work,

content,

trying to understand something and wishing to

“participation

but

in

also

educationally

for

students

to

provide

constructive peer feedback on each other’s work.

thinking

(metacognition)

and

information

improve, and goal direction” (p.45).

At the beginning of this school year, as a staff we

One of the key points from that opening staff

were asked to encourage our students to find

meeting of this year, was to work on explicit

what motivates them to work to their very best in

teaching and differentiation in the classroom

each and every class. Finding that happy medium,

when striving for the overall goal of students

where students wanting to achieve their best and

achieving their best. One of the ways that I have

engage meaningfully in the content requires

worked on delivering thus far is by creating

“learning to be meaningful and material to be

opportunities for my students to find their best

learned, it should be presented in authentic

way

environments rather than in decontextualised

techniques often through lessons which are STEM

settings" (Marsh et.al 2015, p.86). Therefore, in

oriented. I have found that providing different

conjunction with my #OneWord of Accomplish

ways for them to recall knowledge as well as have

and the goals set by leadership, I think creating a

choices to achieve different curriculum tasks,

meaningful environment is a goal worthy of

students are willing to achieve their best. Hattie

accomplishment

(2009) notes “the process of learning is a journey

for

it

supports

engagement and motivation to succeed.

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

student

of

learning

through

metacognitive

from ideas to understanding to constructing and

| 08


onwards.

student responsibility” (p.118). This makes me

It is a journey of learning, unlearning, and

think of all the recent innovations by teachers

overlearning". When students can move from idea

globally in STEM which we have seen in Editions 1

to ideas and then relate and elaborate on them,

and 2 of this amazing magazine. Learning from

we have learning - and when they can regulate this

others

journey then they are teachers of their own

opportunity for that to occur will only allow

learning.

students to want to learn more and therefore

As Hattie 2009 suggests that when "learning intentions and success criteria are shared with,

matters

and

by

providing

the

best

have the motivation to achieve their ultimate best!

committed to, and understood by the learner, the motivation

to

succeed

is

greater"

(p.23).

References

Throughout my classes, I always start with the

- Elias, M., DeFini, J. & Bergmann, J. (2010). Co-

intentions of what students will be subjected too

ordinating

in the lesson and in doing so provide theoretical

development (SECD): Initiatives to improve school

and

climate and learning. Middle School Journal, 42,

practical

opportunities

to

achieve

these

social

and

emotional

character

intentions. Providing a safe environment for my

30-37

students

- Groundwater-Smith, S., Le Cornu, R., & Ewing, R.

at

times

can

allow

them

to

feel

comfortable where error is welcomed and fostered,

(2006). Teaching. Thomson.

because we learn so much more from errors and

- Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning. Routledge.

therefore become more engaged in our learning. Hattie, 2009 suggests “the act of teaching requires deliberate interventions to ensure that there is cognitive change in the student" (p.59). Knowing enough about the content to provide meaningful and challenging experiences in some sort of progressive development. Based on building engagement and motivation, how

students

can

continue

to

build

their

knowledge and mental skills I have focused on how to create a positive environment that allows feedback of and for learners and the opportunity for learners to create activities that allow them to learn. As Marsh, et.al (2015) reminds us “feedback from significant others such as parents, siblings, peers and teachers are influential in the growth of one’s multifaceted self-concept” (p.123). Conclusion

- Lee, J. (2014). The Relationship Between Student

Engagement and Academic Performance: Is It a Myth or Reality? The Journal of Educational Research,

107(3),

177-185,

DOI:

10.1080/00220671.2013.807491 - Marsh, C., McInerney, D., Nieto, S., Larrivee, B.,

Mercer, C., & Maloy, R. (2015). Understanding learning (pp. 97 - 249). Pearson Custom Books. - McDonald, T. (2019). Classroom Management: Engaging students in learning (3rd Ed.). Oxford

Cameron Ross Cameron is an ICT Coach with a Master of Education in Digital learning, He is a #MIEExpert 2020-2021, Google Certified Educator and a team Leader for the Twitter Chat #aussieED.

I think the main factor impacting upon a learning environment when thinking on STEM is having a positive classroom where students can try new things, not to fear failure at any point and to feel confident to ask questions of the educator. And when peers can enjoy each topic that they are learning from in areas like STEM. As McDonald (2019) suggests “a relational view of behaviour management will shift the focus away from controlling problems to building strengths and

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

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Educator Spotlight

EDUCATOR

SPOTLIGHT Connect with STEM educators worldwide and hear their stories of how they incorporate STEM into their everyday classrooms.


E D U C A T O R

S P O T L I G H T

-

I N T E R V I E W

A DOSE OF DAILYSTEM - AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS WOODS Fi: Hi Chris, it is so great to have you join us for

Issue 3 of the STEM ED Magazine! To start off with, can you tell us what led you to get into Mathematics Education? Chris: I was always nerdy. I loved Maths, I loved

Science, I loved all those kinds of subjects, and when I was in college I was studying Engineering but my counsellors in high school never really told us what eningeering was, but I knew it was maths and science, and I got into my third year of it and I failed a class. And it was going to take a whole other year to get caught up, so I looked at the options, and I had enough math that it would be easy to get a Math degree, and I thought, ‘I could be

a

Math

teacher!’.

I

worked

as

a

camp

counsellor, in a summer previously and it was like, I love working with kids, so sometimes it is those

Interview by Fi Morrison

strange situations that lead you to the best

Founder of STEM ED Magazine

possible outcomes.

This month I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing

an

extraordinary

educator

and

Fi: In your book Daily STEM, which I love (see Issue

1

of

the

magazine!),

you

spoke

about

your

champion of STEM, Chris Woods. Chris is the host

childhood experiences around STEM and how

of the STEM Everyday podcast and Author of Daily

STEM education was all around you. What is your

STEM, where he aims to share with educators and

favourite childhood STEM memory, and how do

families the joy and abundance of STEM in

you think it has impacted you now as an

everyday life. I was extremely inspired by my

educator?

conversation with Chris and his passion for STEM, and I hope you too become invigorated by the

Chris: It is hard to narrow it down to just one!

endless

(laughs).

possibilities

of

daily

STEM

for

your

students. Fi: ( laughs) Yes, there are so many!

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

| 11


E D U C A T O R

S P O T L I G H T

-

I N T E R V I E W

can figure out why it doesn’t work’, together. Just all those opportunities, even just to go outside. For kids today, I’m trying to encourage them to take

all

those

kinds

of

possibilities

and

opportunities. Get them off the screen and get them outside, to that big beautiful screen. Fi: Absolutely! So obviously we know that STEM

stands

for

Science,

Technology,

Engineering,

Mathematics… Arts if we include STEAM. But, I feel it is more a pedagogical approach; how we teach and the skills that the students can develop from that. How do you see that in your classroom? What sorts of skills do you see your students develop as a result of incorporating STEM in the classroom? Chris: It is easy to talk about the 4C’s. You know, Chris: Yes, but I would honestly say, it’s just, all

communication, collaboration, critical thinking,

the things that I made, and built, and created

and creativity, and I really feel like when we

with my brother. We usually lived out further

integrate

away from town, so we didn’t have a lot of kids to

projects, those opportunities to dive deep into

play with on our street, so we played with each

those things, we’re connecting the curriculum,

other, and the one neighbour kid. And we would

the content, with those 4 C’s. And I want my

make stuff, and create stuff, and build with

students to be people that don’t just make

LEGOs, and take them apart, and build stuff

something and build something because it’s fun

outside, and build a fort, and whatever it was that

and cool, but they realise all the STEM behind it

we could do, take apart and put together. My dad

that makes it amazing and cool. I want them to

was also in the computer industry in the 80s, so

understand how the STEM behind it makes it

we even had a modem at home in the late 80s, so

possible to have whatever we’re making help

we were dialling up to the local internet. So right

people in the world.

away

we

had

that

surrounding,

STEM

and

those

challenges,

those

those

opportunities, those fun experiences that come

Fi: I couldn’t agree more! Obviously your STEM

from playing and creating.

Everyday podcast, book, newsletter and resources are well known. What led you to start those sorts

Fi: And do you reflect on those experiences as an

of resources?

educator? How do you think those early STEM experiences have shaped your role as an educator now? Chris: I definitely value that STEM can and should

be engaged with at home, just as much as reading at home, STEM at home. The more that parents provide anything – whether it’s some blocks, some LEGOs, some toys, something that’s broken to say, ‘hey, let’s take it apart and see if we

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

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E D U C A T O R

S P O T L I G H T

-

I N T E R V I E W

Chris: I knew I was a teacher that was doing all

the garage and helping your kids see how the car

these things that were engaging my students.

needs to get fixed; whether it just needs to

And, I knew that I was nerdy and it was easy for

change the oil, or maybe even changing a tyre or

me to see the world through those STEM-

parts under the vehicle, or fixing something in the

coloured glasses. But I know that there are so

backyard, or creating something like dinner.

many teachers out there that, for one reason or

Making dinner together. All those kinds of things,

another, maybe just don’t see those things, and

parents don’t think of as STEM, but they are

maybe have a trickier time with it and need some

because you’re incorporating all those Science,

of those ideas and resources. A number of years

Technology, Engineering, Maths, the Arts, and all

ago, I just thought I wanted to share these things

of those types of everyday things that we do and

that were working great in my classroom to help

if we help parents to talk about it, then they

other educators, because if I can help other

realise that they are actually parts of their child’s

educators, then that helps more kids. And if I can

education as well, and more than anything, I

help more kids, then that’s what it is all about for

think that’s what we need.

us as educators. Fi: Absolutely, it’s a partnership isn’t it? It’s a Fi: Were you surprised at how popular those

partnership between the school and the home,

resources became?

and if we’re covering it on both fronts, then we have more of an opportunity to delve into it a bit

Chris: Uh, yeah… (laughs)

more

and

help

students

have

a

better

understanding of STEM. Fi: (laughs) Chris: Chris: and you can quote me on exactly that.

Yeah,

it

multiples

the

learning

that

happens in our classroom.

(laughs) Fi: You mentioned earlier [before the interview] Fi: (laughing ) Got that, ‘Yes’! I’ve also noticed that

how this year you’ve gone from completely online,

a lot of families have responded quite positively to

remote learning to hybrid learning, and this past

your resources, such as your '77 Activities for

year obviously a lot has changed in the education

STEM' document. Why do you think that is?

world. How do you think STEM education is going to change or adapt following this past year that

Chris: I think parents, so many of them, feel like

we’ve had?

STEM is 3D printers and robots and rockets and high-tech stuff, but when they see and realise

Chris: Number 1, I think we have to not just say

that STEM is just going for a walk and noticing all

we have added devices for every kid in our

the different types of birds you see, or going in

district, and now that’s STEM, because it’s not.

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E D U C A T O R

S P O T L I G H T

-

I N T E R V I E W

Getting students using technology does not mean

education, then copy somebody else’s idea, go

we’re helping them learn about Science and

find a project, use it in your classroom, get your

Technology, Engineering and Math. So that’s

kids excited. Your kids are going to ask for more

number 1. Number 2, engaging parents over this

of those, so you’re going to keep finding more,

past year of the Pandemic, is, I hope, one of the

and you’re going to start copying other projects,

best things to come out of education in the

and pretty soon you’re going to start changing

Pandemic. Parents are certainly going to be

them to fit your own classroom. Fit your kids,

happy that their kids are back in school… (laughs)

make it even more applicable for the passions that your kids have. And eventually you’re going

Fi: ( laughs)

to get to the point where the kids are going to start coming up with ideas and you’re going to

Chris: with somebody who probably feels a little

start coming up with ideas, and that’s when the

more confident teaching them than their parents,

creating happens, where you’re creating your own

but I hope that parents stay engaged in the

projects and challenges for your kids. More than

education of their kids. And number 3, my always

anything, that’s the best advice for every educator

hope for the future of education in STEM, is that

starting

there is more electives, more cross-curricular, and

something – “Copy, change, create”.

that’s

what

I

think

it’s

eventually

going

out

[in

STEM

education],

just

try

to

into

Fi: Wow, that's such great advice. Thank you so

everything and we start to see all these walls

much once again Chris for joining us for Issue 3 of

between subjects breaking down, and kids are

the magazine. We're so grateful to connect with

just engaging with STEM in every single subject

you and hear your passion for STEM.

become,

where

it’s

just

fully

ingrained

area. For more information about Chris' work, or to Fi: I agree, that would be so awesome. Hopefully

connect with him on social media, you can find

one day we’ll see that happen! (laughs)

him on the links below.

Chris: We will, we will. Fi: We’ll get there. So the last question is what

advice would you share for educators – so some of our readers are new to education, or new to STEM education; others might be very seasoned STEM educators – what would be your advice to those educators wanting to explore or enhance how they integrate STEM into their teaching? Chris: Well I’m going to borrow a three-word

phrase from Liz Gallo at WhyMaker… Fi: She’s fantastic (as a previous contributor to

Issue 1 of the magazine!) Chris: Yes, and she talks about “copy, change and

create”, and those three words for educators, if you’re new and you’re just starting out with STEM

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

| 14


STEM insights from evidence

STEM INSIGHTS FROM

EVIDENCE Read some of the latest research, trends and ideas circulating in the STEM education world.


S T E M

I N S I G H T S

F R O M

E V I D E N C E

OUTCOMES IN STEM BESIDES ACHIEVEMENT SARAH DUNIFON

Informal learning, also referred to as out-of-

Formal educators are already familiar with

school learning, refers to any learning that takes

assessing their curriculum for alignment with

place outside of a formal classroom. For STEM

national standards and evaluating their students’

learning, this includes museum camps, visits to

learning and progression throughout the school

the zoo, watching STEM-centric TikTok or Youtube

year. They might consider thinking about other

videos, and even experimenting with recipes in

intended impacts of their work, and how those

your kitchen.

constructs - like science identity - can be built

Researchers estimate that up to 95% of a

into their instruction.

person’s life is spent outside of school (Falk &

Three common constructs to informal STEM

Dierking, 2010). Therefore, informal learning is an

education are science identity, science interest,

immensely

and 21st century skills. Please note, while referred

important

element

of

a

person’s

education.

to here as science identity and science interest,

Some informal learning is guided through field

these concepts can be applied to all of STEM

trip programs, after school clubs, or other informal

more generally as you will see in the following

learning contexts, while other informal learning

text.

experiences

are

free-form

and

without

intervention from an adult or other learner.

Science identity is a term which refers to the

socially constructed sense of self as it relates to

Another key difference is the way in which

science. People with strong science identities will

educators think about program impacts. Much of

see themselves as “science people” and tend to

formal learning is structured around academic

have

and social-emotional achievements. While this

performance, and recognition (Carlone & Johnson,

can also be true for some informal learning

2007). Science identity is an important indicator

programs,

on

for persistence in STEM fields, and studies show

psychosocial outcomes, such as building science

that by middle school, students tend to self-select

identity,

out of STEM when they do not see themselves as

many fostering

other

programs

self-efficacy

in

focus STEM,

encouraging pro-environmental behaviors.

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

and

strengths

in

science

competence,

“science people.”

| 16


This effect is particularly true for individuals who have been traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields. “In addition to the achievement gap, which is one piece of data, we need to think about the identity gap. Research shows that youth of color[sic] and women and girls just don’t see themselves as belonging in STEM. There are not enough role models. There’s a lot of literature on that. The other piece that I think is interesting is that some youth, African American youth for example, feel conflicted: ‘Do I want to risk any erasure of who I am in order to be somebody in STEM?’ Researchers say that 60% of STEM professionals decided they wanted to pursue that as a career at ages 12 or 13. The issue of an identity

gap

should

be

something

that

is

addressed right from the get-go, at a young age.” (Tan, 2017). Developing a strong science identity in

Similar to science identity, science interest can be

students can lead to deeper science literacy,

an important indicator of future science - or STEM -

academic achievement, and even persistence in

engagement. As such, educators use techniques in

STEM fields (Bell et a., 2019). It’s clear that

their instruction to make STEM content accessible,

science identity is an important thing to foster in

relevant, and engaging to their students, in order

our students. But how might you incorporate

to foster a deeper science interest. Ways that

this construct into your teaching?

educators can incorporate this idea even further

(1) Ensure you have diverse representations of STEM professionals in your curriculum and guest speakers. they might be like as a STEM professional in the future. science

identity

by

showing

students that a career in STEM is attainable for them, that other people like them pursue STEM, and that STEM is relevant and relatable to their lives and interests. Science interest is a term which likely already

feels familiar to you. We know it when we see it through

cues

language,

in

and

facial

expressions,

speech.

Researchers

body define

science interest as: “a cognitive and motivational that

participation,

describes with

(a)

some

engagement,

content

(such

or as

physics, writing, or baseball) and also (b) the motivation to continue to seek opportunities to engage with that content: seeking information, posing

via an inquiry or guided inquiry experience. (2) Show the connections between things they enjoy in their lives (be it a certain sport, music,

Cultivate

variable

(1) Give students opportunities to explore STEM concepts which are interesting to them, perhaps

(2) Encourage students to think about what

(3)

into their teaching include:

questions,

and

(Renninger & Hidi, 2020).

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

tackling

challenge.”

technology,

or

any

other

interest),

and

how

elements of STEM allow that interest to exist and happen. (3) Encourage students to ask questions and seek out answers. 21st century skills are a set of skills defined as

critical for success in the 21st century workforce. These

include

cognitive,

interpersonal,

and

intrapersonal skills, such as “planning for success,” “problem solving,” and “verbal communication” (National Research Council, 2011). In the United States, 21st century skills have been and are increasingly an important construct for both formal and informal education. A heavy emphasis

on

this

skill

set

ensures

that

we

recognize the importance of developing a person

| 17


as a whole - not just their STEM skills and knowledge. For teachers, this is not a new concept - I would suspect all of you have spent time thinking

about

how

communication,

to

improve

collaboration,

student

and

problem

solving. Continue giving students opportunities to practice these necessary skills. In the economy of tomorrow, students will be judged less on their ability to recall information (because hey - there is always the internet for that/your smartphone to pull that up), and more on their ability to think critically and work with others. By focusing on outcomes beyond academic achievement, attitudinal

educators

and

can

behavioral

foster

important

changes

in

their

students, contributing to their academic and career success, and the development of wellrounded world citizens. References - Bell, J., Besley, J., Cannady, M., Crowley, K., Grack

Nelson, A., Philips, T., Riedinger, K., & Storksdieck, M. (2018). The role of identity in STEM learning and science communication: Reflections on interviews from

the

field.

Washington,

DC:

Center

for

Advancement of Informal Science Education. -

Carlone,

H.

Understanding

B., the

&

Johnson,

science

A.

(2007).

experiences

of

successful women of color: science identity as an analytic lens. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(8), 1187-1218. - Falk, J. H., & Dierking, L. D. (2010). The 95 percent solution.

American

Scientist,

98(6),

486-493.

https://www.jstor.org/stable/25766726 - National Research Council. 2011. Assessing 21st Century

Skills:

Summary

of

a

Workshop.

Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/13215. - Renninger, L. A., & Hidi, S. E. (2020). To level the playing field, develop interest. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 7(1), 10-18.

Sarah Dunifon Sarah M. Dunifon is Founder and Principal Evaluator of Improved Insights, an evaluation consulting firm specializing in informal STEM learning and youth-focused programs. Improved Insights helps STEM organizations to improve their

work

and

amplify

their

impacts

by

evaluating learning and psychosocial outcomes like science identity, science interest, and 21st century skills. Dunifon is based in Cleveland, Ohio,

USA,

and

can

be

reached

at

sarah@improvedinsights.com.

https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1177/237273221986 4705 - Tan, E. (2017, November 14). What is STEM identity? An interview with Edna Tan. Center for Advancement

of

Informal

Science

Education.

https://www.informalscience.org/biography/ednatan

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

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S T E M

I N S I G H T S

F R O M

E V I D E N C E

CAN ROBOTS SUPPORT SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT?

DR SARIKA KEWALRAMANI, DR IOANNA PALAIOLOGOU, PROFESSOR JOHN SIRAJ-BLATCHFORD, DR MARIA DARDANOU

Sara (9-year-old) and her sister (6-year-old,

This vignette introduces a scenario of how

Kiana) engage in a play session where a codable

through robot play, children such as Kiana (who is

Cat Bot (robotic toy) is a ‘partner’ in the play

selective mute and from English as an additional

scene. Without directions, the parent provides

language

the children free space [free-flow play] and place

interactions that enable them to potentially

to interact with the robot. This enables the child

acquire

to become an involved agent in joint play with

adjustments and development. In this article, we

another child. Sara dramatises the Cat Bot as

showcase the use of robotic toys, applicable in

being hungry and asks Kiana to pat the cat.

early childhood to primary settings as a play-

Kiana pats the cat and feeds it milk, while Sara

based and inquiry approach to develop children’s

codes the Cat to make sounds and actions. Kiana

social and emotional competencies, including

notices the robot’s actions as a modelling of

those children with diverse needs and abilities.

expressions of positive feelings (i.e., wagging tail

background) skills

for

can social

engage and

in

social

emotional

We know that children’s social and emotional

when being fed milk; meowing when happy).

development

is

These feelings demonstrated by the Cat Bot

relationships

with

provide a stimulus for the child to respond (e.g.,

prosperity (Allen et al., 2021; Frydenberg et al.,

let’s

and

2012). Research has highlighted time and again

verbalise their own feelings and emotions during

that all new activities offered to children must be

play. The Cat Bot acts as a potential partner to

meaningful, and this requires activities to have a

stimulate the child’s social and emotional skills

relationship to what the child can already do

through

and

(their schemes) and/or knows (their schemas)

fostering opportunities for the children to co-

(Siraj-Blatchford & Brock, 2019a). It is crucial to

create collaborative empathetic play scenarios.

support children’s emergent learning in free-play,

feed

the

hungry

triggering

cat

some

empathic

milk)

responses

critical

to

others

their

wellbeing,

and

long-term

even if children are playing and tinkering with advanced technologies such as robots. When we are able to build upon what a child ‘can do’, we

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

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are providing emotional scaffolding to their emergent learning (Siraj-Blatchford & Brock, 2019b). For a child with additional diverse needs (e.g., language or communication delays), ability to make friendships can be a skill that needs explicit scaffolding, which can happen within a free-play scenario such as the vignette above. Over a three-year period, research in Australia, England, Scotland, and Norway has developed compelling evidence for the need to harness the unmet potential of robotics technologies as a significant opportunity to build children’s social and emotional competencies (Arnott et al., 2020; Kewalramani et al., 2020, 2021, Palaiologou et al., 2021).

The

evidence

was

evaluated

using

triggering empathy as seen in the playful dialogues.

The

child

co-creates

a

‘self-

generated’ empathetic situation where she wants to continue feeding the Cat Bot new

qualitative methods and found robotic toys as a

items and sing songs.

play-based inquiry approach could be used to

The sibling joins in as a coding playmate to

develop children’s social interaction with their

facilitate the child’s social-emotional actions

peers, carers, educators and families in everyday

and feelings to feed to cat, which is being

natural learning environments. Through playful

imagined to be hungry.

explorations with the robots, children can be provided with opportunities to collaborate with

The below is another example from a nursery

their peers/siblings (e.g., via role play or by

context in England.

exercising choice and control when coding the robot to perform tasks) – important skills for social-emotional programmed

learning. functions

The

robots’

(e.g.,

pre-

and 2months) in the nursery are using LEGO

represent

BOOST robot that is coded via a tablet . The

anthropomorphised characters or real/imaginary animals), together with the robots codable features allow the child to exercise choice and control. The features are haptic (digital touch screen

interface),

George (3years and 8months) and Theo (4years

audio-visual,

tactile,

movement, and thus offer ‘free-play flow’ type affordances (in contrast to traditional 2D/3D non-interactive toys).

teacher is present as this is a new addition to the portfolio of the toys in the nursery. The teacher explains to the children how the IoToy works and then steps back to allow them to explore it. Both children start following the instructions and after a while, Theo brings some small wooden brigs and explains to George that they can build a bridge

In the case of above vignette of Sara and Kiana,

and they can code the robot to demolish the

the children co-created a scenario with the

bridge. They both build the bridge and then try to

robot as a central character in their story and

code the robot. Their first two attempts were not

narrative.

successful in order for the robot to demolish the

Kiana

notices

the

robot’s

actions

as

bridge. Then they ask their teacher for help. With

modelling feelings (wagging tail when being

the help of the teacher, they try again and this

fed milk) and words (meows when happy). These feelings demonstrated by the Cat Bot then allows for the child to verbalise their own feelings and emotions during play (let’s feed the hungry cat some milk, let’s feed it some cake). The robot acts as a potential partner to drive the child's emotional thought process,

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

was very successful. They tried couple of times. Then they used Lego pieces and made a house. They tried to see how they can demolish the house and this time coded the robot successfully on their one. During the coding process they were instructing each other “reflecting” on what they had learnt from the teacher.

| 20


The play with robotics toys in these examples identifies the importance of peers and the robot both

as

play

partners,

where

children

start

developing meta-cognitive skills (Autognosia = ways of knowing /understanding their everyday world

and

through

how

to

form

self-regulation

of

social

relationships

their

emotions).

Children learn to do this by drawing upon their knowledge and experience and responding to the stimulus offered by the robot. The below pedagogical steps adapted from the SchemaPlay

model

(Siraj-Blatchford

&

Brock,

2019b) provides an example of the processes of learning that are involved in children’s free-flow play with robots. Early childhood and primary teachers and parents can use these steps to plan

Table 1 List of robotics toys used in our research

for children’s free-flow play and inquiry with robotic toys. Pedagogical steps used to facilitate children’s free-flow play with robots

Concluding thoughts

When we fully appreciate the dynamics of children’s free-flow play with robots, and also appreciate the importance of observing both the schemes (children’s ways of knowing and being) and schemas (children’s unique contexts and abilities) displayed in children’s robotics play, and effectively scaffold and build upon these in supporting

their

holistic

social-emotional

development and emergent learning of complex cognitive

skills,

only

then

we

as

early

childhood/primary educational professionals can start to truly provide the child-centred learning while using technologies such as robots (SirajBlatchford, & Brock, 2019a). Robotics play provides an educational culture to enable the child to always feel in agency, to develop their self-esteem, value, and a recognition of themselves as active learners and problem-solvers in their own enacted stories. The child learns through observing,

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

| 21


modelling

and

imitating

of

behaviours

and

Technology

Education.

https://doi.org/10.29333/

appropriate scaffolding by the teachers/parents.

ejmste/113247

The robot when placed within the child’s learning

- Kewalramani, S., Palaiologou, I., Arnott, L., &

environment provides a ‘schema’ i.e. a context to

Dardanou, M. (2020). The integration of the

generate empathy-based situations and problems

Internet of Toys in early childhood education: A

keeping the robot as their central character at the

platform for multi-layered interactions. European

heart of children’s self-generated inquiry. The

Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 28

interactions and communication between the

(2), 163-166, https://doi.org/10.1080/1350293X.2020.

child and the robot as well as the haptic and

1735738

codable manipulation of the robot to perform

- Kewalramani, S., Ellis, K., & Kidman, S. (2020,

certain tasks acts as a natural stimulus to provide

June 4). How to build a more inclusive STEM

the child with a novel and unique schema and

program in early childhood using robotics and

free-flow play experience. This experience serves

conductive

as an opportunity and a source of motivation for

https://www.monash.edu/education/teachspace/ar

the child to connect with others in the play

ticles/how-to-build-a-more-inclusive-stem-

routine. After all, it is inevitable that children will

program-in-early-childhood-using-robotics-and-

enjoy playing with robots that can listen and react

conductive-blocks

to their commands! However, for the robotics play

- Palaiologou, I., Kewalramani, S., & Dardanou, M.

to

primary

(2021). Make-believe play with the The Internet of

effectively

Toys: A case for multimodal playscapes. British

flow

in

educational

early settings,

childhood we

have

and to

Monash

Journal

an educational value and supports children’s play

https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.13110

and inquiry (which is the most effective context

- Siraj-Blatchford, J., and Brock, L. (2019a) Grasping

for learning). In SchemaPlay, we refer to ‘seeding

the confidence to achieve their potential, Early

the play learning environment’ (in response to the

Years Educator, Vol. 21, No. 4.

schemes

- Siraj-Blatchford, J., and Brock, L. (2019b) How to

behaviours

that

children

are

applying in their play).

Educational

Teachspace.

integrate robots as ‘toys and/or tools’ that adds as

and

of

blocks.

Technology.

1–18.

scaffold learning through free-flow play, Early Years Educator, Vol. 21, No. 3.

References - Allen, K. A., Kern, M., McInerney, D., Rozec, C., &

Slavich,

G.

(2021).

Belonging:

A

Review

of

Conceptual Issues, an Integrative Framework, and Directions for Future Research. Australian Journal of Psychology. - Frydenberg, E., Deans, J., & O’Brien, K. A. (2012). Developing Children’s Coping in the Early Years: Strategies for dealing with stress, change and anxiety. Bloomsbury Academic. - Kewalramani, S. (2019, September 13). Why preschool is the best time to spark an interest in STEM.

Monash

Education

Teachspace.

https://www.monash.edu/education/teachspace/ar ticles/why-preschool-is-the-best-time-to-spark-aninterest-in-stem - Kewalramani, S., Palaiologou, I., & Dardanou, M. (2020). Children’s engineering design thinking processes: The magic of the ROBOTS and the power of BLOCKS (electronics). [Open access]. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

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Dr Sarika Kewalramani Sarika

is

an

Early

Dr Ioanna Palaiologou

Childhood/Primary

STEM

lecturer and ‘prac-academic’ at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Sarika's research expertise resides

in

conceptualising

kindergarten

and

primary teachers' understanding of the nexus between creative STEM-based play by integrating technologies (robotics) in their teaching practices and educational programs in ways that promote children's learning and development. Sarika has recently designed an evidence-based Monash short course (available online) for 'Enabling STEMbased Play in Early Childhood (0-8 years old)'. This course is suitable for educators who are seeking to upscale

and

upskill

their

knowledge

and

understandings to develop children’s (including children with diverse needs) problem solving,

Dr. Ioanna Palaiologou CPsychol AFBPsS has worked as a university academic in the UK for the last 20 years. She is a Chartered Psychologist of the British Psychological

Society

with

specialism

on

child

development, learning theories and assessment and was appointed as Associate Fellow of BPS in 2015. In 2017 EECERA annual conference she was awarded best published paper for 2016 in the European Early Childhood Education Research Journal for her paper ‘Children

under

five

and

digital

technologies:

implications for early years pedagogy’. Her most popular books are Child Observation: A guide for students of early childhood (4th Ed) and Early Years Foundation Stage: theory and Practice (4th Ed) both published by SAGE.

creativity, and inquiry skills through STEM-based play. For more information visit the link here, and visit her LinkedIn to see glimpses of her teaching and research activities.

Professor John Siraj-Blatchford

Dr Maria Dardanou

Professor John Siraj-Blatchford is a founding

Maria Dardanou is an associate professor of

Director of SchemaPlay; a Community Interest

pedagogy in early childhood teacher education

Company

and

at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Her

and

research expertise is in digital technology in the

contribute

early years, with a special focus on the internet

learning

of toys and touchscreen technology and related

providing

consultancy

in

education. towards

training,

early

childhood

SchemaPlay

an

research

aims

improvement

care

to

in

the

outcomes of disadvantaged young children, and

pedagogical

a

educational

convenor of the European Early Childhood

with

Education

narrowing

outcomes

of

that

the are

gaps

in

associated

economic, cultural and gender difference.

socio-

perspectives. Research

She

is

Association’s

the

co-

special

interest group on 'Digital Childhoods, STEM and Multimodality'.

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

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S T E M

I N S I G H T S

F R O M

E V I D E N C E

EQUITABLE ACCESS TO DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGIES IN AUSTRALIA - ARE WE THERE YET? MONIQUE DALLI

The ACARA Curriculum technologies update

of schools, teacher training and plays a role in

has the potential to make access to the Design

making

and Technologies curriculum equitable across

students across NSW regardless of where they

Australia

attend school they are learning the full curriculum

The current implementation of the curriculum in the

vast

differences

in

their

education

our

students

experiences

equitable

for

in Design and Technologies. Western

Australia lies with states' curriculum authorities, however

learning

Australia’s

implementation

was

designed to suit the rural and small school

soon

settings that are in WA. The School Curriculum

changed if states accept the latest update. The

and Standards Authority, Government of Western

revised ACARA Design and Technologies curriculum

Australia

stipulates “By the end of Year 8 students will have

opportunity

had the opportunity to create designed solutions at

Technologies context area. This requirement can

least once in each of the four technologies contexts”

benefit rural schools as it allows them to work

being

with the resources and teachers that they have.

experience

Systems

Engineering,

could

Food

be

and

Fibre,

Materials Technologies and Food Specialisations.

in

at

the

least

one

materials focused curriculum and are early days in

students in each state aren’t participating in the

Technologies curriculum and new senior subjects.

same

Some QLD schools are still using material focused

in

means

participate

have

implementing the current ACARA Design and

experiences

this

students

that

learning

requirements,

to

that

In QLD, QCAA are moving from a trade and

At present each of our states have differing implementation

suggests

Design

and

Technologies. The NSW Education Standards Authority stipulates minimum

number

hours

for

Design

and

Technologies, in Years 7 and 8 it is 200 hours. This means that each school in NSW has to deliver the entire curriculum, each of the specialisation areas to a minimum requirement of indicative hours. Schools can choose to combine and repeat technologies, this allows for flexibility and for schools to plan to their resource availability. Because NSW requires all specialisations to be taught, this drives the staffing

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

subject naming conventions like woodwork and metalwork. These terms are not present in the Australian Curriculum, the new update might be what

QLD

needs

to

move

forward

with

Technologies implementation. In Victoria, schools use school discretion to optout and compact content in Year 7 and 8 Design and Technologies. VCAA doesn't have a minimum requirement for hours, and schools use their discretion

to

not

teach

the

Technologies

curriculum entirely. School discretion can be

| 24


based on reasons of curriculum time constraints,

ITE courses, retraining options and funding for

limited

of

scholarships to support staffing in our learning

specialist trained teachers in Victoria not all schools

area so we can can specialist teachers teaching

teach all of the Design and Technology areas, or

our students.

resourcing

or

due

to

the

shortage

teach them at all.

The purpose of a National curriculum is to set

So, where do you sit on this debate? Should we

standards of learning and teaching. If the revised

have the option for states to implement their own

ACARA curriculum is adopted by our states, all

version and implementation requirements of a

schools will teach all Design and Technologies

national curriculum OR should we be all teaching

curriculum and this will in turn drive a need to

the same curriculum nationally?

have trained teachers to teach it. The curriculum

Let’s think about some of the scenarios that currently play out in schools across Australia, do single sex schools gender subject offerings? Yes. Do all of our female students get access to learning

update could agitate change and equity at a time when STEM education is a national priority. It is an exciting time to be a part of Technologies education.

opportunities like Systems Engineering? No. The DATTA Australia committee is in full support of the

revised

ACARA

curriculum,

current

implementation allows for states to reduce and compact our learning area, we see potential in the update to encourage equitable and equal learning in Design and Technologies across Australia by impressing that each and all of the four 7 & 8 specialisations are taught within the context of the school. A positive flow on effect of the proposed curriculum changes will be the push for State level funding for Initial Teacher Education courses. If it is mandated for Design and Technologies to be taught, there must be properly trained specialist teachers to

Source: Technologies Consultation Curriculum

deliver the courses. In NSW and QLD, you can select and choose from a number of Universities to study and train as a Design and Technologies teacher, In

Monique Dalli

Victoria we fall short here. There are no local Initial

Monique is an author, Design and Technologies

Teacher Education tertiary courses available for

secondary teacher and Director of Professional

Victorians. The only study options for prospective

Learning at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Victorian Design and Technologies teachers are

in Victoria. She also works at Southern Cross

online and interstate.

University as a Casual Academic within the

The results from a recent member survey

Faculty of Education. Monique is the current

conducted by DATTA Victoria, indicated that 90% of

president

respondent schools are using out-of-field teachers to

teacher association for Design and Technologies

deliver both the 7-10 Design and Technologies

teachers, a current focus of the association is the

curriculum and VCE.

shortage

In NSW during Term 1 2021 there were over 250 jobs

advertised

for

TAS

teachers.

There

of

of

DATTA

Australia,

teachers

within

the

national

Design

and

Technology specialisations.

aren't

enough specialist teachers and sadly governments at all levels don't understand that this in turn leads to our ongoing STEM-related workforce shortages, not only in teaching. It is the hope of DATTA Australia that compulsory curriculum changes will put pressure on state governments to fund

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

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S T E M

I N S I G H T S

F R O M

E V I D E N C E

LEADING A CULTURE OF STEM EDUCATION AT YOUR SCHOOL A PLAN FOR ACTION LUCAS JOHNSON

So, you’ve integrated STEM education into your

meaningful change in your school.

classroom and you’re really seeing the benefits in

Understand the ‘Why?’

your students learning. Engaged students? Tick.

Before you can persuade your school leadership

Disciplinary understandings and interdisciplinary

team and your colleagues about the amazing

connections being constructed? Tick. Students

benefits offered by STEM education, take some

engaged in real world problem solving! Sure are!

time to understand the ‘why?’. Why is this

You’re probably now left wondering why your

important for your students? How can STEM

colleagues

incredible

education and its related pedagogies enrich the

opportunity to engage their students in STEM

learning opportunities in your school? How will

education, in the same way that you have in your

such an approach meet the goals outlined in the

own classroom.

school’s

aren’t

jumping

at

this

Annual

Action

Plan?

Why

is

STEM

When it comes to the introduction of new

education not just another fad that will disappear

innovations into a school environment, an idea

like all the others that have come before it?

alone, no matter how good it is, is not enough to

Answering these questions will help to clarify in

create sustainable change within a school. As

your own mind the true mission behind your

every school is different and what works for one

integration of STEM education and may help you

school

to convince others of its importance as well.

may

consideration

not

work

should

be

in

another

given

to

situation, how

this

Acknowledge the ‘How?’

innovation sits within the unique context of the

Teachers are busy. The timetable is already

school . Creating your own version of what STEM

crowded. No one has time to squeeze in anything

education

new. All these ideas are legitimate barriers to

looks

like

in

your

own

school

is

imperative. If you’re really invested in trying to encourage

innovation and a reality of teaching. In order to support

teachers

to

see

the

benefits

of

a

colleagues across your school to integrate STEM

pedagogical innovation, such as the integration of

education into their curriculum, now might be the

STEM education into their enacted curriculum, it

time to take a step back, assess the landscape and

might be a matter of reframing the challenges of

create a plan for action. Outlined below are a few

the change into opportunities. Consider how you

deas that might support your thinking as you

might

develop your strategy to lead and embed

teachers that STEM education is an approach that

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

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able

demonstrate

to

your

fellow

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enriches their curriculum, rather than adding onto it.

Ideas such as a specific spot for STEM education

Offering examples of practical connections such as

on the weekly planners, a STEM education notice

addressing

board or an article in the school newsletter,

scientific

concepts

through

reading

groups or using mathematical skills to represent data collected in a scientific investigation, might be useful in doing this.

could be a good place to start. While this may not be a comprehensive list, it is hoped that these ideas might spark your thinking

Find your people

about how STEM education will fit within the

When trying to accomplish change of any kind,

context of your school. Taking the time to

finding the right people is crucial. Who will be your

consider a plan of action and developing a

allies in the integration of STEM education? Consider

strategy to support the integration of STEM

your own sphere of influence and whether you

education, may just be the ticket to embedding

might be able to find some teachers with similar

the sustainable change that you are hoping for.

educational values to you, who might be willing to give STEM education a go. There is power in

References

numbers. So, when it’s time to take your ideas to the

- Fullan, M. (1999). Change Forces - The Sequel.

school leadership team and say “How good is STEM

Routledge Falmer.

education”, you will have plenty of evidence to

- Graham, S. (n-d). People at laptop. Retrieved

support your claim that such an approach is truly a

from https://unsplash.com/

‘no brainer’.

- Knight, R. (2020). The tensions of innovation:

Show don’t tell

experiences of teachers during a whole school

There is so much value and professional learning in

pedagogical shift. Research Papers in Education,

the conversations that take place in the staffroom or

35(2),

205-227.

Retrieved

from

in staff meetings, however, seeing something in

https://doi.org/10.1080/02671522.2019.1568527

action possesses a power for change far greater than conversation alone. Invite your colleagues into your classroom to see STEM education in action or even ask if you can invite some students to your staff meeting to present their latest STEM project. As educators, little is more exciting than witnessing students who are truly engaged in their learning. As your colleagues interact with your students, hearing how they’re making interdisciplinary connections and

developing

conceptual

understandings,

all

while solving problems that are truly relevant to their lives, they will be sold.

Lucas Johnson Lucas Johnson is a passionate advocator of the benefits of STEM education. He has ten years’ experience as a primary school teacher, holding various leadership roles and has been involved in the organisation of a range of STEM education community

We all go into these situations with our sights set high and a vision of leading meaningful change. Sometimes our initial attempts at innovation might fall over, and that’s ok. In fact, t’s how we learn. Big change won’t happen overnight, so if your first attempt at trying to convince your colleagues about the benefits of STEM education doesn’t quite work,

for

both

teachers

and

students. Over the last three years, Lucas has worked

Don’t be afraid to move the goalposts!

events

with

Monash

University

to

support

teachers in developing engaging and impactful STEM education opportunities in their schools. He is currently undertaking a PhD exploring the conditions and structures that support teachers to

embed

Problem

innovative

Based

pedagogies

Learning

into

such

their

as

STEM

education curriculum.

take a moment to consider why. What were the barriers? Then it’s time to address these by finding some quick wins. These are the easy to enact ideas that will help your colleagues take those first steps towards

integrating

STEM

education

into

their

classrooms and help you to address these barriers.

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S T E M

I N S I G H T S

F R O M

E V I D E N C E

INSPIRING AN INNOVATION MINDSET EMILY HUNT Source: The 'No Hands Pyramid' Activity, Pg. 37, 15-Minute STEM Book 2

It is hard to ignore the global demand for innovation.

Governments

are

To start with, let’s get one thing clear:

dedicating

departments to it, citing the acceleration of

Innovation is Different to Invention

innovation as central to promoting prosperity and growth. Innovation centres are popping up at

Invention is the creation of something new.

universities around the world to link academics

This is normally a tangible product or ‘thing’

with industry. Companies are also placing it at the

(think Alexander Graham Bell with the telephone

heart of their vision and mission statements.

or Thomas Edison with the lightbulb). It is

Innovation is the key to creating a better future.

important to remember that not all inventions are

Take some of the most pressing challenges facing

useful. While some go on to become innovations,

our world at the moment: the UN's Sustainable

revolutionising the way we live, others are of little

Development Goals. These goals are ambitious and

use and are quickly forgotten.

require

an

innovative

response,

drawing

Innovation

connects

the

dots

between

particularly on knowledge and expertise from the

inventions. It happens when someone improves

fields of science, technology, engineering and

upon or makes a significant contribution to

mathematics.

something that has already been invented. Take

This poses a challenge for us as educators: that

the invention of Apple’s iPhone. It wasn’t the first

of how to equip students with the relevant

phone to ever exist, nor was it the first device to

knowledge and skills necessary to be innovative

have a touchscreen. However, it was innovative in

thinkers, able to solve the complex problems of

the way that it blended phone and computer into

tomorrow’s world. Whilst we don’t know exactly

a palm-sized device. Innovation creates a process

what these problems will be, we do know that

or product that is useful, adds value to our lives

STEM

and is commercially successful.

projects

provide

meaningful

ways

for

students to identify problems and come up with creative

solutions.

This

is

the

very

basis

for

innovation. So, what should children know about innovation,

The two words are closely connected but they are not the same.

So, what else should children know about innovation?

and how should we teach it?

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1) Innovation is gradual

In reality it’s not as clear cut as that.

Innovation doesn’t always happen with sudden

Innovations are not created out of nowhere and

breakthroughs or ‘eureka’ moments. It’s often a

they are rarely linked to just one person. Instead,

gradual process that can take years, decades, even

they build upon the ideas of others. Tim Berners-

centuries to emerge. Innovations are evolutionary

Lee took an already existing invention of the

changes to existing processes, uses or functions,

internet and built upon it, adding hypertext

which

(clickable

are

made

better

by

one

(or

several)

references

to

other

text)

to

link

information.

contributing inventions. Take the example of tidal turbines. They convert

Meanwhile, the invention of the telephone was

energy from tides into electricity. We tend to think of

the

renewable energy as a future innovation but, in fact,

individuals. Bell may have been the first to obtain

the basic idea of turning water movement into

a successful patent for it, but there were many

useful energy can be found much earlier – for

other inventors – including Elisha Gray and

example, in the water wheels of Ancient Greece. The

Antonio Meucci – who also created a ‘talking

technological concepts behind the water wheel

telegraph’.

have

gradually

evolved

over

time

into

the

culmination

of

work

done

by

many

Standing on the shoulders of giants is an excellent metaphor we can use to remember

engineering that we see today.

that

the

creator

stood

on

someone

else’s

shoulders. They took the understanding gained

Teach children:

Don’t always expect sudden ‘eureka’ moments.

by major thinkers who had gone before in order

Start with small steps and build upon them over

to make creative progress.

time. Take time to pause and reflect on your ideas.

Teach children:

Listen to and value the ideas of others. Start with something you already know and

2) Innovation is collaborative

There’s a tendency to think of history in terms of the ‘Great Man Theory’. We think of influential individuals

who

have

made

a

see if you can build upon it. Be open to sharing your work and ideas.

significant

contribution to society. Think Tim Berners-Lee with the world wide web or Alexander Graham Bell with the telephone.

3) Innovation involves trial and error

How often do we get something right first time? This is exactly the same for innovation. Thomas Edison made a thousand iterations to the lightbulb. When asked by a reporter ‘how did it feel to fail 1,000 times?’ Edison replied: ‘I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The lightbulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.’ James Dyson is famed for his innovative bagless vacuum design of the Dyson hoover. However, it took him 5,126 vacuum design attempts before he could get a properly working vacuum. The Wright brothers repeatedly went back to the drawing board as they struggled to create a design of engine-powered plane that would be light enough to fly. They didn’t have a university degree or background in engineering, but they did have a determination to succeed. After many failed attempts at flying, they eventually created the world’s first successful motor-operated plane.

Source: The 'Newspaper Towers' Activity, Pg. 29, 15-Minute STEM Book 2

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We can’t plan what the future holds, and sometimes creative ‘tinkering’ can stumble upon things that we didn’t know we even needed. Teach children:

Be open-minded to new ideas. Try to find the value in an ‘accidental’ or unexpected outcome. References - Hunt, E. (2018). 15-Minute STEM Book 2. Crown

House Publishing - Hunt, E. (2016). 15-Minute STEM Book 1. Crown

House Publishing Source: The 'Plugging Pipelines' Activity, pg. 37, 15Minute STEM Book 2

-

Innovation

you overcome the inevitable mistakes and setbacks along the way. None of these inventors would have succeeded if they didn’t have the determination to keep going through the failures. In fact, it was these mistakes or failures that led to their greatest achievements.

Science

Australia

(2017).

Australia 2030: prosperity through innovation, Australian

Innovation involves a great deal of perseverance as

and

from:

Government,

Canberra.

Retrieved

https://www.industry.gov.au/sites/default/

files/May%202018/document/pdf/australia-2030prosperity-through-innovation-full-report.pdf? acsf_files_redirect - National Science Foundation (2020). STEM Education for the Future: A Visioning Report. Retrieved

from:

https://www.nsf.gov/ehr/

Materials/STEM%20Education%20for%20the%20 Future%20%202020%20Visioning%20Report.pdf

Teach children:

Mistakes are an important part of the learning process. Persevere and keep going when things don’t go

Emily Hunt

to plan.

Emily Hunt is a primary school teacher from the

Think of each error as a step closer to success.

UK with a passion for STEM education. She is the author of the 15-Minute STEM book series – an exciting collection of 80 quick, easy-to-resource

4) Innovation can be accidental

Sometimes, in setting out to do one thing we end

STEM activities for children. Emily also blogs and

up creating or discovering another. There are lots of

shares

STEM

activities

examples of important discoveries that just weren’t

HowToSTEM.co.uk.

planned. Alexander Fleming is one such accidental

magazines, websites and STEM organisations to

discover. He had been experimenting with bacteria

create STEM articles and activities, drawing

in Petri dishes when he discovered that one had

upon her experience as a teacher and her

been contaminated by mould. On closer inspection

knowledge of the curriculum. Emily’s latest book

he saw that the mould was killing the bacteria

15-Minute

around it. This mould is now used as a medicine

Publishing, 2021) is out now.

STEM

She

on

her

regularly

Book

2

website

works

(Crown

with

House

called penicillin, which helps to destroy bacteria. Other accidental discoveries include Play-Doh, Coca-Cola and the microwave oven. Such new creations can be more valuable than we ever could have

imagined.

Accidental

discoveries

are

a

surprisingly frequent part of the innovation process.

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S T E M

I N S I G H T S

F R O M

E V I D E N C E

MAKER CAMP SHOULD BE A PART OF YOUR SUMMER THIS YEAR SANDY ROBERTS

Each year Make: hosts a special program.

electronics,

robotics,

computer

science,

3D

Designed as an exploration of all things Do-It-

printing, and engineering. These high-tech STEM

Yourself for young makers, Maker Camp is chock

topics are blended with traditional skills like fiber

full

arts, woodworking, paper crafting, culinary arts,

of

projects,

community. makerspaces,

adventures,

Camps

are

libraries,

inspiration,

hosted camps,

by and

and

schools,

and more to create new and innovative projects.

youth

Campers learn by doing, directly prototyping,

organisations of all kinds. The best part? It’s

and inventing. But it’s more than that. They

completely free to anyone.

choose the direction for their projects, taking it

Last year, like many educational programs facing

beyond

instruction

transforming

creation.

virtual. But for 2021, it’s set to return with a new

materials makes learning engaging and fun, while

flexibility to support camps that are online, virtual,

the freedom to chart their own course and the

or hybrid. The goal is to make Maker Camp as

time to play in the relaxed atmosphere of Maker

accessible as possible to every learner, while

Camp offers opportunities to grow.

summer and beyond. Maker Camp is especially important this year.

experimentation

with

their

the new world of COVID-19, Maker Camp went

supporting parents and educators through this

Direct

and

the

In their book Invent To Learn, Martinez and Stagner

explain

“acknowledges

that

that the

hands-on power

of

learning making

Camp is designed to build resilience, confidence,

something comes from a question or impulse that

creativity, and community -- all things kids need

the learner has... Learners are empowered to

now more than ever. More than that makers are

connect with everything they know, feel, and

problem solvers, dedicated to making the world a

wonder to stretch themselves into learning new

better place. Maker Camp is one way to empower

things.” This kind of learning is messy and often

another generation with the skills to conquer any

unpredictable, but it forms a deep connection

challenge.

between the camper and what they have made. After a year of screens, hands-on projects provide

Hands-on Learning

The heart of Maker Camp is hands-on exploration.

campers the chance to reconnect with the real world in new ways.

Through step-by-step skill builders campers learn

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Mindset Matters

In her book, Mindset, Carol Dweck explains, “Th[e] growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way — in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments — everyone can change and grow through application and experience.” This concept is, in many ways, at the heart of what a maker is. Makers learn by doing. They play. They adapt. They experiment through trial-and-error. They know that you may not succeed on the first try. Failure is seen as a beginning not an end. They learn to take risks and not fear trying something new. They become fearless flexible thinkers, ready to meet the next challenge and explore new possibilities. Maker Camp gives kids the space, mentally and physically, to create without the restrictions often found in the classroom. As the world fought COVID-19, we all watched as

Connecting with a Community

scientists, doctors, businesses, and others stepped

One of the things many kids missed with

up to deal with the crisis. Through Maker Camp, kids

distance learning was connecting with their

frame

friends

themselves

as

people

who

can

solve

and the

classmates. perfect

Summer,

backdrop

for

however,

problems, invent solutions, and help others. When

provides

building

they next encounter a challenge -- big or small --

friendships and community. Working together on

they’ll have the confidence to face it and the skills to

projects at camp offers both the opportunity to

fix it.

collaborate and the freedom to be creative, whether online or in person. “The Maker Movement celebrates the sharing of knowledge, as well as the sharing of tools and time. Many makers learn their skills through studying,

formally

or

informally,

with

other

makers,” writes AnnMarie Thomas in Making Makers.

Sharing

ideas

and

resources

is

an

important part of being a maker. Because group projects often require many different skill sets, there is a place for every type of maker to be included. Campers quickly learn to mentor one another, teaching and learning from each other. Working together through successes and failures is an important part of Maker Camp. Strong

bonds

are

formed

through

these

experiences. Kids learn that they aren’t alone; they have others on their team who can help them take their wildest, biggest, most exciting ideas and make them a reality. Knowing that you are part of something bigger than yourself is a powerful feeling.

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The Nuts and Bolts

Hosting a Maker Camp is as easy as registering on the Maker Camp website (www.makercamp.com). The program is completely free and open to anyone interested in being a Maker Camp Community Partner. Camp begins the first week of July, with training and planning resources going online in June. The program is flexible enough that leaders can host a few sessions when time permits, or plan weeks worth of content. This year Maker Camp offers seven Adventures that Maker Camp Community Partners can mix-andmatch to fit their needs: Arts & Crafts, Coding & Robotics, E-Textiles, Fabrication, Electronics, STEM, and Back to Basics. These Adventures will have various Trails campers can follow, each composed of projects you can use independently or together. Projects can be filtered by age, skill level, and time to complete. Materials lists, templates, and printable instructions for offline use are all included. MAker Camp has never been easier to implement. These have been tough years for us all. Offering Maker Camp to young scientists, engineers, artists, and makers is more vital this summer than ever before -- and not just to the students. As David Lang suggests in Zero to Maker, “As a parent or role model, help amplify the maker spirit inside your child (even as you rekindle the spark yourself).” #WeAreAllMakers References

- Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Random House.

- Lang, D. (2017). Zero to Maker: A Beginners' Guide to the Skills, Tools, and Ideas of the Maker Movement. (2nd ed.) Maker Media Inc.

- Martinez, S.L. and Stager, G. (2013). Invent to Learn: Making,

Tinkering,

Classroom.

(1st

and

Engineering

in

the

edition).

Constructing

Modern

Sandy Roberts Sandy is the Maker Camp Coordinator for Make: Community. She is also the author of The Big Book of Maker Camp Projects with McGraw-Hill, and owner of Kaleidoscope Enrichment, LLC.

Knowledge Press. - Thomas, A. (2014). Making Makers: Kids Tools, and the Future of Innovation. Maker Media, Inc.

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STEM in Practice

STEM IN

PRACTICE Read some innovative and engaging stories from educators worldwide promoting STEM in their classrooms.

Image: Source Knox Grammar Preparatory School


S T E M

I N

P R A C T I C E

A MOVING LESSON; THE KINDNESS CAMPAIGN TRICIA FUGLESTAD

Student voice is powerful, Harry Potter is magical.

What

if

teaching

kindness

mannerisms of children giving advice to children.

could

These layered images were layered with learning

incorporate both? My quest to develop a lesson

experiences as well. Students created them over a

for creating kindness messages by students for

series of class periods with each step exploring a

students has evolved into a kindness campaign

new lesson about kindness, animation, graphic

reminiscent of Harry Potter’s gallery of moving

design, expressive speaking, green screen effects,

paintings. In this movie series, one would expect

art, and augmented reality.

the framed paintings to remain still and passive images, however, they unexpectedly come to life,

1. Developing a kindness message

speak, and interact with the viewer. Much like

My hope was to have an entire grade-level display

this, the kindness posters transform seamlessly

of kindness posters with unique kindness messages

from still images to video with the magic of

geared towards our student community. Developing

augmented reality to show us the artist with

these

flapping wings symbolic of goodness expressively

feedback. I made this worksheet for students to use

speaking their unique uplifting message.

as they read picture books, extracted the messages,

These moving posters, professionally printed adorning the walls of the art room, are moving in

and

messages

needed

developed

inspiration,

peer

time,

reviewed

and

individual

statements.

every sense of the word. At first glance they look like graphic designs made by our current 5th

2. Animating Wings

graders. Each has a still photo of the artist

The animated wings were a symbolic visual

overlapping hand drawn wings next to a printed

representation of goodness reminiscent of angelic

kindness

beings.

message

over

a

solid

colored

They

were

made

using

the

Do

Ink

background. At the bottom are instructions for

Animation and Drawing app on iPads with this

scanning the QR code to activate the augmented

guide. These simple drawings were repeated three

reality. However, they are encapsulated legacies

times in different stages of flapping to make a

that capture the voice, expression, and

flipbook-style animation in the app’s drawing mode.

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Some classes were instructed to make left facing or right facing wings. HINT: We duplicated the second set of wings and pasted them into the 4th position to make the sequence smoother as it loops. 3. Graphic Design

Students used the Do Ink Animation and Drawing App in the composition mode to set up their graphic. They used the text tools to insert their typed messages centered opposite

their

wings

over

a

to

the

pastel

side

colored

background. Then, they pulled in the animated wings into this composition, resized, placed, and

trimmed

timed them to flap in the location where the

Students saved the first moment of the video as an

student will overlay a greenscreen video of

image for the trigger and the whole video for the

themselves. We stretched out the length of the

overlay, which are the two files needed to build the

animation to 6 seconds and exported this as a

augmented reality project.

the

two

clips

to

match

in

length.

video. 6. Augmented reality 4. Green screen Video

Each student rehearsed using an expressive voice and small gestures as they spoke their kindness statement. They needed to angle their body to accommodate the wings and not move their back so the wings would appear to flap from behind them. I set up an iRig microphone on a stand in front of the green screen with an iPad (camera) on a tripod. It was important to not move the camera, not let the student move their back, and capture a clear audio recording. Each student chose a pose for the very first moment of their video then began to speak. This pose would become the trigger image for augmented reality and the still image for the poster. Recording students became an exercise in teamwork and kindness as they worked quietly from their seats making cards for hospitalized kids while waiting patiently for their turn. 5. Editing and layering

Students now had all the pieces to everything together. They used the Green Screen app by Do Ink to import the animated wings/text video to the bottom layer and the greenscreen video

Setting up augmented reality is very simple in Eyejack Creator (desktop app). I checked out a class set of laptops with the free app installed and walked students through the simple steps of importing the trigger, overlay, and capturing the unique QR code generated with their content. This could have worked as a station in the room or I could have just set up the media myself. I had students check their code with an iPad using Eyejack app to test the AR. That was a magical moment. 7. Final Poster Design

Students completed the final step in the keynote app on iPads. I made a template with placeholders to help them resize and place their still image, QR code

and

select

a

background

color

that

complemented their piece. This could have been accomplished in google slides as well. This image would be the poster design. It contained a small space explaining that the image would come to life

using

the

Eyejack

app

so

that

anyone

approaching the artwork would understand there was more to experience.

above. They made artistic decisions as they cropped and resized the greenscreen video until it fit slightly over the flapping wings. Then

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Scan the QR codes with the Eyejack app to see the artwork come to life

Tricia Fuglestad Tricia Fuglestad, K-5 art teacher from Dryden The kindness campaign was ready for display at

Elementary School in Arlington Heights, IL, has a

the beginning of a global pandemic. Children

MATL

began the school year learning from home

successfully blended digital and physical art

through screens unable to scan the posters

making with her transdigital lessons to expand

hanging in the art room. So, I scanned them all

the curriculum, give students an opportunity to

and recorded 12 episodes of messages that I

explore new media, and find transformative ways

could share with every class over time. In doing

for

this, we were able to watch the posters come to

dynamically. Tricia’s classroom is featured in

life together virtually and reflect as a group on

educational publications and higher education

their messages. Children who were isolated at

textbooks. Her students’ Fugleflicks, student-

home were still able to learn from these students,

created, art-related videos have screened at

see their unmasked faces, and hear them speak

international film festivals and won national

from their hearts to them.

awards. She has been recognized with many

in

K-12

students

tech

to

integration.

demonstrate

She

has

learning

state and national awards for her innovation and Resources:

dedication to art education.

Kindness Campaign Lesson blog post with teaching resources: https://drydenart.weebly.com /fugleblog/kindness-campaign-20 Use this seesaw activity with a response sheet to help learners reflect, respond, and develop their own kindness message.

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S T E M

I N S I G H T S

F R O M

E V I D E N C E

THE POWER OF PLAY IN PRIMARY CLASSROOMS DR STEPHANIE SMITH

Background

The Evolution of the Play Program

It has been six years since I submitted my

The program began with my Year Two class, in a

doctorial thesis Playing to Engage: Fostering

big school, as a Friday afternoon activity. During

engagement for children and teachers in low

the sessions the children engaged with a variety

socioeconomic

and

of activities including play dough, Lego, jigsaw

mathematics play-based learning. This article

puzzles, a variety of craft activities, board games,

explores where it all began, practical play-based

role-plays and so much more. This quickly evolved

learning

the

into another Year 2 class joining in and the

classroom and what I learnt through my journey,

sessions expanding to multiple offerings across

much of which still inspires my work to this day.

the week at different times during the day.

regions

examples

to

through

science

implement

into

I completed my thesis over four years whilst

Eventually on Fridays all three Year 2 classes

working fulltime as a classroom teacher in a low

would engaging in the sessions with over 60

socio-economic primary school located in south-

children

west Sydney. My research was based on my

together. Once the program had been well

everyday teaching practice, the delivery of a

established across Year 2, we began to extend

professional

the

invitations to classes in the school’s Support Unit.

implementation of a play-based learning sessions

Each Friday a group of between four to eight

across lower primary. I had the great privilege of

children, in Year 1 and 2, would join our classes.

learning

package

and

team teaching during this time, as well as having the

expertise

of

our

school

EAL/D

teacher

connecting,

sharing

and

playing

This then progressed to the whole of lower primary implementing play sessions across their

collaborating with us. The prime driver of the

classes.

research was supporting children and teachers to

together to undertake sessions, with all of the

feel

Kindergarten teachers running sessions together,

more

science

confident

and

in

delivering

mathematics

activities,

play-based but

The

teachers

instinctively

grouped

not

the Year 1 classes also playing together. This

unsurprisingly they quickly discovered that play

allowed for the teachers to pool together their

could easily be integrated across the curriculum.

resources, share ideas for activities, work as a collaborative team and reflect on the process. It also meant that children were able to mix with

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individual talents and understood how they could share and learn from those around them. The

depth

children

of

the

play

develop

experiences

essential

helped

skills

like

collaboration, creative and critical thinking, risk taking and reflection. Let's Get Practical Themed Role-Play Boxes Each week children were able to select from a variety of themed role-play boxes. Some of the options drew straight from children’s requests, whilst

others

teaching. other teachers and children outside their own class.

tied

One

Celebrations

into

the

such

box

units

example

contained

we

were

was

the

themed

outfits

including a salsa dress, glittery vests, party dresses and capes, as well as

What We Learnt

lots

The play sessions proved to be rich learning

of

different

types

of

brightly

coloured

material and accessories. They also had access to

opportunities where children could explore new

party

passions, building upon existing ones and share their

Halloween,

knowledge with others. The children developed

patterns on them. Other examples included

agency over the experiences made available and ran

witches and wizards, explorer, minibeasts, shop

workshops for their classmates. Through the sessions

and vet boxes.

hats,

plates,

cups

birthday

and

and

napkins

generic

with

rainbow

they were able to demonstrate their ability to share, positively interact with each other, mix with a variety of children outside their friendship groups, create role play scenarios and play collaboratively. Children were able to show their skilfulness, share prior knowledge and ability to direct their play and learning experiences independently. For teachers, it was a sharp learning curve into transitioning

into

a

facilitator

of

learning

and

releasing control to the children’s interests and passions. They were challenged by allowing the

The Mystery Craft Box

This was one of the most popular activities. This activity involved children being presented with a range of recycled materials including empty boxes, milk cartons, tubes, paddle pop sticks, bottle tops and plastic cups etc. Children also had access to sticky tape, glue and staplers. From these materials they were able to create anything they could imagine from robots to cupcake

students to lead, felt they lacked a meaningful role in the sessions and didn’t know what questions to ask

the

children.

What

they

discovered

were

stronger relationships and greater understanding about who each child was, their passions, skills and knowledge. These opportunities ultimately gave children the grounding to transfer knowledge and skills across different learning experiences outside of the play sessions. Play transformed the way children tackled problems, interacted with others, and presented their work. They had a greater degree of confidence and self-awareness. The children celebrated their

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making machines, dragons to submarines. The items

in

the

Mystery

Box

changed

weekly

depending on the recycled materials we had and sometimes what the children brought in from home. Originally it was just one big tub which then progressed into different coloured recycled bags for plastic, paper and other items so the children could sort and easily locate items they wanted. Most of the time they had sticky tape and craft glue but occasionally, to challenge them, we would take one of these away. They also had paper available for them to design their creation first, if they so desired. We also ran opt-in challenges where children could design and build creations around a theme for example float your boat, design a toys or vehicle or build a bridge. Writing Projects

The writing station consisted of a variety of implements including coloured gel pens, scented textas,

rainbow

pencils

and

mini

stampers.

Children also had access to a range of stationery and envelopes. Children were not given any direction

just

to

write

anything

their

hearts

desired. We had a letterbox available for children to post letters which were handed out at the end of the session.

Dr Stephanie Smith Dr Stephanie Smith is the Manager of Learning at

the

Museum

Canberra.

She

of

has

Australian experience

Democracy, working

in

primary classrooms and a variety of cultural institutions across the country. Her research explores

inquiry

development specifically

in

learning,

and science

play-based and

professional learning

mathematics

in

primary settings.

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

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S T E M

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P R A C T I C E

MAKING HEXAGONS – CHANGING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT ONE BLOCK AT A TIME CASSANDRA LOWRY

Several years ago, I was asked to take a Prep class so the teacher could attend an unexpected

I picked up a yellow pattern block. “But what is the name of this block?” I asked the class.

appointment. Being part of the maths team, I knew the students had been learning about

“It’s a hexagon,” another student announced.

shapes, but I had not yet worked with this class. I scanned my office hoping for some inspiration

“But what has this shape got to do with my

and my eyes landed upon a large tub of Pattern

favourite number 6?”

Blocks. As I made my way to the classroom, a simple, yet intriguing idea formed. I would challenge the

Murmurs about sides and corners reverberated around the circle.

students to use the blocks to create some patterns and see if we could learn something

“Ok, so you say it’s got 6 sides, but what is a side?

about the properties of shapes in the process.

How can I check?”

“Yes,” I thought, but I still needed a hook to ensure the students would remain engaged. I sat the students down in a circle, surrounding

A student came forward to model the six sides by sliding his finger along the edge of the block.

the tub of blocks, and started to tell them a story.

When

I

was

younger

and

played

“A side is straight,” he confidently added.

basketball, I always wore the number 6. I had fond memories of playing with my team and this

“Ok, a side is straight. And so, what is a corner?”

experience led the number 6 to become my favourite number.

Another student volunteered to show the class that the corners were “the pointy bits” and

“I wonder if you can guess which is my favourite

modelled how the six corners of the hexagon

pattern block?” I asked the students.

could be counted.

“The yellow one,” a student suggested.

“Knowing that I love hexagons and the number 6,

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do you think we could use these other blocks to

whether this smaller design was a hexagon.

build even bigger hexagons?” “Sure,” several students suggested, before one moved towards the tub, joining two trapeziums (the red blocks) together to form a new hexagon.

“It doesn’t look right,” said one student. “It’s like part of it is too long.” I took a photo of the design and shared it with the class. The students were divided as to whether the design was a hexagon. Using our checking process, we confirmed that it did have 6 sides and 6 corners. I used this experience to introduce students to a new term: irregular.

Happily, surprised by this suggestion, I reminded students how good mathematicians always check their work and asked what we could do to ensure this new shape was a hexagon. A long pause came over the class before one student suggested that we could count the number of sides and corners.

“Mathematicians use the term regular to describe shapes that have equal length sides and equal angles. This shape is a hexagon, but it is called an irregular hexagon.” Students seemed happy with their new knowledge and continued along with the task. Another group soon called me over to talk about their design. “I don’t think this is a hexagon as it doesn’t match. It’s like crooked,” suggested the student.

After this quick explanation, students were off and, within minutes, were inviting me over to show me their hexagon design. Each time I arrived at a table I would ask students to demonstrate how they knew their shape was a hexagon. Several discussions about sides and corners could be heard over the clicking of blocks. At one table, two students were discussing

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This design led to a discussion about symmetry

they discovered and, for several weeks later,

with

were eager to use the pattern blocks during

many

students

suggesting

that

the

symmetrical hexagons were definitely the best.

discovery play to continue the challenge.

“Hey wait! I need more blocks,” one student

For further information about this lesson and

shouted.

other ideas related to Pattern Blocks, check out the following post on the AMSI Calculate site:

“Join with me so we can make the biggest

https://calculate.org.au/2018/10/17/shapes-

hexagon ever.”

foundation/

“Cool!” What Worked Well (WWW) and Even Better If (EBI)

Lots of Blocks: Having now run this lesson several times it is good to have lots of pattern blocks available. The bigger the hexagon the more engaged students become with the learning. Check

all

designs:

Remember

to

keep

reminding students of the importance of checking their designs. Watch as the students point to the corners and run their fingers along the side of their shapes. Being able to identify a property is different from being able to explain what this property represents. Learn from Mistakes: If a student makes an error and creates a design that is not a

Cassandra Lowry

hexagon, name the new object and record this

Cassandra is a numeracy leader at St Francis

term on the board. This helps to recognise the

Primary School in Tarneit. She enjoys sharing her

effort the student put into their design, but

love of all things maths and regularly takes part

also provides them with feedback of any

in #STEM related chats via Twitter.

changes they may need to include.

For the previous four years, Cassandra worked as

Take Photos: Have a device on hand so photos

a maths educator and outreach officer for the

of designs can be taken and shared with the

national

students. I have used an iPad connected to a

@AMSIschools.

larger screen to share designs and model the

developed for the project can be be accessed

process of checking the number of sides and

through

corners to ensure the shape is a hexagon.

https://calculate.org.au/author/cassandra/

#CHOOSEMATHS

the

Many AMSI

of

the

project

for

resources

she

Calculate

website:

Believe in the lesson: Sometimes as educators we need to be salespeople. This lesson was successful as the students believed my story about the number six and hexagons. They wanted to use the pattern blocks to create larger designs and were genuinely happy when they could prove to me that what they had created remained a hexagon. Students were excited to use the new words and definitions

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

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S T E M

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P R A C T I C E

STEM: AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN SOCIAL SKILLS CLAIRA WILSON, DRONE LEGENDS

In the deepest crevices of our biology, we are

How do we get more adults who work effectively

wired for connection. The philosopher Aristotle

in teams? We give them more practice while they

once wrote, “Man is by nature a social animal.”

are in school. STEM projects are a perfect avenue to

More recently Michael Platt, Ph.D., a biological

foster teamwork, as science and engineering are

anthropologist

from

highly collaborative fields.

Pennsylvania’s

Perelman

the

University

School

of

of

Medicine,

Imagine a student trying to figure out how to

asserted, “Human beings are wired to connect. It

clean a water supply. Their individual knowledge

allows us to come together and do things that we

and skills probably fall short of the task. But if

wouldn’t be able to do on our own.”

several students get together and each one takes

Our screen-filled lives in business, school, and home disconnect us from nature, from ourselves,

ownership over one piece of the project, they can come together and effectively build a solution.

and from others. Children, in particular, should be

Take the professional Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s

interacting with each other and learning the

approach to space missions. JPL had noticed their

essential life skill of group work.

engineers

and

scientists

worked

hard...but

separate. The thermal engineer’s work affected the STEM is a Place to Practice Group Work in the

power engineer’s work, but the two engineers did

Classroom

not

collaborate.

Even

high

communication

According to Forbes Magazine (2020), the

between groups is no match for the benefits of

ability to work effectively in a team is the most

working in the same room as a unified team.

desired trait in an employee. An employer hopes

Getting input early from each member of the team

for varied approaches and thoughts from their

makes for stronger proposals and leaner missions.

employees

to

provide

innovative

and

groundbreaking solutions at work. However, a basic set of shared values acts as the glue that binds successful teams together and encourages

Benefits of Group Work

Aside from the natural imperative of group work, there are many advantages to collaboration:

a positive workplace.

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Each student needs a unique job within a larger project that suits their skills and background. A team at a company might consist of a project manager, a writer, a designer, a subject matter expert, and a quality control expert. Likewise, a team in a school should consist of several unique jobs for each student to choose from, work independently within a group, and pass their completed work to another group member. Each member brainstorms, develops, and creates their pieces. They then come together to A group of students has more knowledge and experience than a single student; Working in a group increases each student’s motivation to learn and grow; Students retain information better from group discussions than other modes of presentation; Working in a group helps students gain selfawareness and an understanding of their unique strengths, and; Students

get

an

opportunity

to

gain

interpersonal skills like listening, contributing, empathy, and disagreeing appropriately.

among students. Several common problems arise in a group setting: Talkative students overshadow their quieter peers who may feel their ideas are not valued, one student may end up carrying an uneven share of the workload; is

born

from

a

desire

ideas. They then return to their individual spaces and improve their work before returning to the group to collaborate again. Students will discuss, challenge, and refine their ideas before returning to do more individual work with these refined ideas. Completing teamwork ensures everyone has a meaningful job that they are accountable to their group for completing. They gain a sense of belonging as they contribute to the greater good. Effective teams also need a high level of trust between members. To feel safe giving and

But group work in school is often unpopular

Creativity

give one another feedback and flesh out the

for

receiving candid feedback, team members must have a strong relationship with one another. Students develop that trust by working with the same team over a significant period, doing teambuilding activities that are not directly related to the assigned task, and having a classroom culture where the teacher promotes healthy perspectives on failure, growth, and creativity.

individuality, so often working in a group dampens a person’s ability to be creative; Working in a group takes more time because students

have

to

sift

through

different

perspectives and methods for a problem, and; Students may feel pressure to conform to the majority opinion, even if they feel confident it is not correct. How to Make Group Work Effective

Simply grouping students at desks while calling out

answers

to

individual

questions

is

not

teaching our students proper teamwork. Instead, we should mimic the workforce and provide wellstructured team projects as often as possible.

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How to do Effective STEM Groups

After-school programs incorporating STEM are perfect building grounds for teamwork and positive interaction. Ungraded work can take the pressure off students, and allow them to make mistakes, learn, and grow. Socialemotional learning (SEL) is high within STEM projects. Educators can foster students’ selfawareness by highlighting and encouraging them when they catch good behavior and properly addressing the negative emotions that may come from frustration or failure at a project. There also exists the need for selfreflection:

what

challenging?

did

What

did

a

student

they

find

enjoy?

The

student can then identify the strengths they brought to the team, as well as combat frustrations. STEM projects also allow students to practice

responsible

decision-making.

The

student is not only affecting their work, but they are also working within a team, and their actions have a ripple effect. Each student can take ownership over their role (say, scribe, engineer, scientist, or designer) and recognize how

their

learned

work

affects

problem-solving

the

team.

skills

These

improve

emotional intelligence and social behavior. Through group work benefits and positive SEL development, STEM projects are extraordinary collaborative endeavors. After all, this is rocket science. References

- Forbes Magazine. (2020). 14 Characteristics of High Performing Teams. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanres ourcescouncil/2020/09/16/14-characteristicsof-high-performing-teams/?sh=ffdb24716c66

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

Claira Wilson Claira

is

the

Director

of

Curriculum

Development and Design for Drone Legends. Drone Legends is a community of awesome kids from across the country and abroad, learning and experiencing 21st-century skills through the magic of drones and imaginative curricula.

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S T E M

I N

P R A C T I C E

THE STEMBRARY SHIFT: TRANSFORMING LIBRARIES INTO STEM HUBS AMANDA BUSCHMANN

When you walk by the library at Carroll

“STEM focus.” Thus, when my district coordinator

Elementary, it’s hard not to notice the elements of

asked if I wanted to try my hand at NISE’s STEM

STEM

and

certification program, I did not hesitate to jump

throughout: the colourful engineering design

on board. Through the program’s rigorous 38

process posters; the Stick Together poster in full

modules, I learned how to take elements of what

swing;

section,

already exists on campus and in classrooms and

complete with fun wallpaper; signs indicating

tweak them slightly to enhance those critical 21st-

such

century skills--to STEMify them, as it were.

and

the things

collaboration

fairy-lit as

infused

STEM

“Ozobot

within

resource

Station”

and

“LEGO

Station”; and even a STEM Challenge Wheel. As school libraries are often the center of the school,

Storybook STEM

both physically and culturally speaking, it makes

Storybook STEM is perhaps the most seamless

sense to focus there to create a STEM hub to

aspect of STEMifying the library since it involves

begin infusing the entire school with a STEM

taking a traditional facet of a library -- storytime -

culture -- STEMifying the space and the program,

and attaching STEM challenges to aspects of the

if you will.

story. Taking inspiration from Carly and Adam’s lesson plans on Teachers Pay Teachers, I asked my

Why the Library?

own campus teachers which TEKS they were

Instilling elements of STEM into the library

focusing on and strived to find texts which

began small and grew from there -- a program

supported those TEKS. For instance, third and

here, a Makerspace product there. Expecting to

fourth grade were about to study fairy and

embrace a fully STEMified library program at the

folktales -- which text had I read or heard about

outset is setting up oneself for disappointment

recently that would support that, and which I

and discouragement. In my district, Sheldon ISD,

could find stimulating STEM challenges inspired

certain

by the text? And, importantly, for which I also had

schools

have

a

focus,

and

Elementary is lucky enough to be granted a

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

Carroll

resources? If I drew a blank, I would go to Google

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and search for the text’s title + “STEM.” Rarely would

I

ever

borrow

someone

else’s

STEM

challenge in its entirety, but tweak it for my lesson’s length, school’s population, and available resources. Continuing my example of folktales, one highlight includes reading The Princess and the Warrior by Duncan Tonatiuh. I invited the classes in (if on a flexed schedule) with a jazzy Canvacreated graphic and we watched the animated story on Get Epic. If on a fixed schedule, these lessons would absolutely still go on, but with an adjusted time frame. Afterward, I introduced the levels of STEM challenges involving LEGO -- the first,

replicating

an

Aztec

pattern

(with

supplemental visual provided to students to inspire); the second, build a sturdy castle for the princess; and lastly, design and construct a

environment for students to engage in hands-on

blockade to stop the messenger from reaching

exploration of a story, to take the story beyond the

the princess in her castle. I would test the

pages

students’ blockades with my own “messenger,”

connections,

and if I was able to get through, the students had

education.

and

really

think

which

is

critically the

and

make

of

STEM

heart

to rework their designs, thus going through the aspects of the engineering design process.

Makerspace

Another memorable example includes After the Fall by Dan Santat. For the younger students, we read the story and discussed story elements. Then, we learned basic origami and how to fold paper airplanes, like the main character. We identified our fears and decorated our planes with our fears. Then, we had fun making our fears “fly away” by holding contests to see whose plane flew the furthest. We also redesigned our plane with different folds through the engineering design process to see how it flew differently. Even the pandemic has not slowed our Storybook STEM down -- virtual students can still participate by picking up a bag of non-reusable materials from the front office and following along via Zoom. If the materials are reusable, such as LEGO, then I offer options if they do not have such resources. Forcing the students to be creative in their options has yielded some very interesting and amazing results -- one student, instead of using LEGO, made a soccer field from paper and it was absolutely stunning! Such

Storybook

STEM

lessons

exciting, memorable, and risk-tasking

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

provide

an

Perhaps one of the most talked about and most misunderstood

aspects

of

the

library

is

its

Makerspace. Most libraries, be they public or school, have some form of Makerspace now, whether it is a fixed space stocked with the latest robots and gadgets, or a moveable cart of craft supplies, or both. Instead of merely a place to go and aimlessly play, Makerspaces offer a clearly defined area for students to extend classroom learning that otherwise may not be able to occur. With a few simple expectations and materials, Makerspaces can be the brainstem of a library’s thriving STEM organism. In the Carroll Library, the Makerspace is both a large, fixed space in the back of the library as well as moveable pieces. Teachers can check out materials materials

for

their

are

interchanged

classroom

often

stations,

swapped

depending

on

out

grants

and and

funded,

curricula underscored, and student interests. The expectations

for

the

Makerspace

are

simple:

explore, be fair, and clean up any messes you make.

Students

have

free

reign

of

Ozobots,

Beebots, Spheros, LEGO, Magnatiles, craft supplies,

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stickers, tape, glitter, paper of all kinds, board games, puzzles, two kinds of 3D printers, and Chromebooks -- along with more items. Further, there is a cart stocked with random parts such as gears, cardboard pieces, screws, and styrofoam pieces - along with tools to measure, cut, and carve. If a student does not know where to begin, there is a STEM challenge wheel adapted from the

LUSTIGT

via

IKEA

--

I

stuck

different

challenges on there that work with any material, any time. All they have to do is spin the wheel, and bam! A STEM challenge. To access the Makerspace is up to your school’s mission and your library’s purpose. Carroll Library has tied Makerspace access into our school’s PBIS mission -- students earn Colt Cash for positive behaviours, which they cash in for a Makerspace session. Teachers, administrators, and students are all happy. The question of how to stock a Makerspace is a pertinent one -- it doesn’t have to be costly. DonorsChoose is the first place to look, and every district generally has a grant specific to its teachers.

A

hidden

gem

is

Facebook

Neighbourhood groups, especially “mom” groups. Moms are always cleaning out closets and giving stuff away -- I’ve snagged LEGO sets, building materials, and tons of other materials for our Makerspace for free just by commenting on someone’s post!

If you are in the rotation schedule, have classes for any reason, or just have those weird library days and need to pull a magic trick out of a hat, then STEM stations are your answer. Using an inventory of student interests, Carroll Library has a variety of STEM stations that students rotate through depending on their interests. Students can explore and create through such stations as Ozobots, LEGO, Poetry Creation, Board Games, Bookmark Creation, Coloring, Keva Planks, Stick Together Poster, Magnatiles, and so much more. vary

and

change

depending

on

inventory, which keeps students interested. So how do they choose their stations? It can be used

as

assigned.

a

behaviour

The

Challenge cards for them to flip through and get ideas. Some students love challenging themselves to see how many STEM cards they can successfully complete before their time is up. Pandemic times have only shifted STEM stations slightly -- “quarantine time” (smushed together as “quarantime” these days) is necessary between stations. As such, rotation is essential between stations. Larger stations can be broken down into smaller stations to allow for fuller use -- for instance, instead of one large LEGO box, break it into three small LEGO boxes. The students will not notice the difference, and if they do, just explain it’s a challenge for them to create with fewer LEGO now. It is not a difficulty or an impossibility: it’s just a new challenge to tackle! STEM GEMS

STEM Stations

Stations

If students get stuck, I have printed out STEM

idea

is

incentive that

all

or

randomly

stations

desirable, and students get a taste of them all.

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

are

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a librarian is hosting clubs. It is entirely voluntary on my campus, but hosting a STEM club, especially an all-girls STEM club, enhances the view of the library as a STEM hub and centerpiece of the school. Our STEM GEMS began small; we partnered with the University

of

Purdue’s

(https://gems.education.purdue.edu/)

GEMS and

used

inspiration from their online documentation to help formulate the club. However, my co-sponsor, our campus STEM teacher, and I created our own curriculum. We embraced the idea of high-tech, low-tech, and no-tech, and geared each meeting around one STEM experience. The idea was to offer a safe environment for girls to encounter STEM, to take risks with no worries of others crowding in and taking over.

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Potential GEMS must apply and be accepted into the program; when we “induct” them into the program, we strive to make it special with an acceptance package and personal visit to their classroom. For every STEM challenge the STEM GEM completes, she earns a digital badge; at the end of the year, we hold a ceremony in which they are given a printed-out certificate of all their badges. Memorable meetings have included guest speakers, including a female firefighter and a NASA engineer; a hidden building challenge; Easter

stations

making,

Easter

that

included

crystal-making,

Easter and

slime-

an

egg

catapult; designing STEM fashion in alliance with Jaya Iver at Svaha USA; and, most recently, the “Save a Stuffie” challenge. In this multi-step challenge, GEMS adopted an injured stuffie, measured and designed a potential prosthetic device using Tinkercad, and used our 3D printers to print out their products. It does not necessarily need to be a large club such as this -- I also hosted a small cohort to go through the CityX 3D printing curriculum I found online, and we met during their lunch time. Hosting and having the genesis of these clubs in the library aids the STEM culture of the school as one where the library is viewed as the STEM centerpiece. Have STEM-related questions, need STEM materials, or just want to be surrounded by all things STEM? Go to the library!

See” for your new books will invite attention and engagement and does not require much prep work. A few two-litre drinks, some tablecloths, and a bunch of quality texts will excite teachers and lead them to resources they may not otherwise acquire. All in all, STEMifying your library will not happen in one fell swoop but becomes part of a dedicated culture and mindset over the years. By tweaking and implementing changes here and there, the library, historically viewed as a center point for all things knowledge, will transform into a safe, risktasking environment that excites even the most

Library Resources and Collection Development

reluctant learner.

Speaking of resources, mostly any book can be considered “STEM,” but having a specialized STEM section invites attention and engagement. I sectioned off a few shelves and decorated them with

block-like

contact

paper,

robots,

and

lightbulb string lights. I also made bespoke STEM labels to affix to spines so that once books are moved away from this specialized section and

Amanda Buschmann Amanda is a STEM-certified librarian from Houston, Texas with 17 years of industry experience.

into the general shelves, students can still see they are “STEM” books and become interested. Promoting such resources to teachers is also fun -- I regularly place a cart of new STEM offerings in high-traffic areas and make it easy for teachers

to

check

out

materials

for

their

classrooms. Even offering a simple and cute “Sip &

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S T E M

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P R A C T I C E

DESIGNTASTIC! NIKKI VREUGDENHIL

‘What does the word ‘Discovery’ mean to you?’

‘Designtastic’ project (a name we coined and

This was the question asked to us by our design

self-selected as fifth graders). For the project, we

teachers Mrs. Vreugdenhil and Ms. MJ, at the

had a total of 13 classes over the course of 5

beginning of our transdisciplinary unit that

weeks to work on our proposed projects in

would span many weeks and across many

Design, Technology, and Library.

disciplines,

including

Literacy,

Science,

Technology, Design, and Library Sciences.

To launch into Designtastic, we first did a ‘project tuning’ protocol, adapted from High

As we sketched out words and pictures we

Tech High, to help us gain some feedback about

first associated with the word ‘Discovery,’ we

our proposed projects before we got started. In

were then challenged to draw a model of how

breakout rooms on Zoom, all Grade 5 students

one discovers something. This had many of us

were divided into smaller groups with facilitators.

pondering, ‘how do we discover something

The facilitators listened and observed as we

about ourselves or something new to us?’. Our

discussed our project plans and gave feedback to

Grade 5 teachers presented us with a model

each other on what we felt were strong areas

they had created together, and we used this as

and what could be improved with suggestions

an anchor to further discuss and debate what

for possible mentors, materials, and further

factors contribute to discovery over the course

research.

of the unit. Over the next few days, all our

Then it was off to the trenches to start working

teachers lead us through passions or interests

on our project. Since some of our classes were

they

virtual, the smaller breakout groups had regular

had

Experiencing

discovered all

these

about

themselves.

discoveries

got

us

excited and raring to go.

check-ins led by our Design, Technology, and Library teachers, which helped the students stay

In our Reader’s & Writer’s workshop, we spent

on a schedule and get regular feedback. We also

time reading, researching, and writing about a

documented our work in our Discovery project

topic of high interest. From this research, we

journals and did bi-weekly reflections on how the

then started to create a plan for our

process was going.

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We learned pretty quickly along the way that “Designtastic” was not just about designing clothes or

cars;

it

was

actually

about

finding

what

motivates you and discovering something about yourself.

Here

are

some

examples

of

our

experiences in the project: Olivia Park:

"I had set out to make a digital cookbook for vegans and pescatarians. My initial plan for the project was too broad, and I realized quickly that I needed to simplify. I also realized the importance of actually making my recipes to show the results. I had to be resourceful to make sure I had all my ingredients when I needed them. As well, the recipes didn’t always turn out how I wanted; some were almost inedible, like my burnt brownies. Time management was also crucial because I had to plan when to cook in my schedule and ensure I had enough time for all the recipes I wanted to do. Looking back at my project, I discovered that it is important to take risks and try new things instead of always being in my comfort zone. Designtastic also allowed me to bond with my parents as they supported me through my cooking.” Chris Ko: “For my Designtastic project, I designed a remote-controlled car with nothing but an idea and some wires. It was the hardest project I have ever worked on. First, I had to source the materials, then see what wires had to go where, and then test it with a remote control (I took the communication adapter and an RC car controller from an old RC Car). It miraculously worked! However, my journey was just beginning, and I faced many challenges as I tried to make my car work how I wanted it to. The challenges I faced included testing out many different wheels for stability, creating a cover that was light enough, and having a strong enough motor so the car would move on the ground. Despite the fact that I couldn’t get my car speed up to the ones you can buy online, I do feel that I learned so many valuable lessons

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

while working on this project. One aspect of the project that was really inspiring was how closely I got to work with my dad and uncle to help mentor me along on this project as I worked remotely. I discovered that asking questions and receiving advice is important to the design process.” Ella Kim: “I designed a Lego brick wall decorated with LED lights. While this seems to be very simple, it wasn’t. I wanted to make a button that would turn the lights on and off. I was also challenged to light up all the LED lights at the same time. Sometimes there was one that just wouldn’t work, and if I got that one to work, another wouldn’t. Due to these challenges, I needed a lot of resilience and lots of patience. One thing I learned from this project was that I am capable of doing anything if I am truly passionate about it. I think this project was a good chance for students to be independent and really think deeply about their passion and connect this to what they were doing outside of class.” Ian “For my Designtastic project, I made a customized hand-sewed soccer ball. When I first started, I was really confused and having trouble understanding the tutorial that I found. I used my Dad as a mentor to help me understand the text. Over the course of the project, I had other

| 52


challenges, such as finding the proper tools and

At the final expo, all the resulting projects were

finding a person who could heat press on leather.

incredible. We saw everything from a taekwondo

After overcoming these obstacles, I could now

music box, a self-built drone, to a model home &

finish the stitching and put the deflated bladder

stadium, a graphic designed K-Pop dictionary,

inside

and

before

stitching

the

last

piece

and

completing my ball. At school, I also made a custom stand out of wood, spray painted it, and put my name on it. One thing I’m proud of is that I filmed a tutorial while going through the whole process so others could follow my steps, and I plan on posting this on www.instructables.com. One thing I learned through this project is the value of patience, as I often had to troubleshoot or wait before I could go to the next step.”

how-to

sports

tutorials.

However,

the

biggest accomplishment was the reflections we all made along the way and what we discovered about ourselves that will help us in the future! We would like to thank Rebekah Macden and Nicole Engstrom and the work of the Maracuja program that heavily influenced this unit and all the teachers who contributed to its success:MJ Han,

Brogan

Jacobsen,

Pratt,

Molly

Andrea

Wellner,

Boltz,

Jeremy

Clayton

Boren,

Christine Canales, Liz Snavely, Carmen Reyes, Denise Brohm, and Justin Marslender.

Yuan Goh “I produced a Lego brickfilm/stop motion that was about 1 minute and a half about Ole Kirk Christiansen,

who

created

Lego.

The

video

detailed a typical day in his early life. For the project, I wanted to try using a higher FPS (Frames-Per-Second) because it would be a new challenge for me. As part of the process, I created a behind-the-scenes video to show all the steps it took to make the brickfilm because a lot of students in my class requested one. When it was time to edit, I deleted a lot of unnecessary

Nikki Vreugdenhil Nikki is the Elementary Design Teacher and Head of

the

KoLab(oration)

department,

Korea

International School

pictures, and that was sad because I poured a lot of hard work into them, but in the end, it was so worth it, and I was very proud of my final film. One thing I learned from this project is that you often

need

perseverance

when

trying

new

challenges, as they won’t always go as planned.”

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

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S T E M

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P R A C T I C E

CHIEF SCIENCE OFFICERS EXPERIENCE PRACTICAL LEARNING ABOUT STEM AND LEADERSHIP CLAIRE LABEAUX

The Chief Science Officers (CSO) International

These classes had a profound impact on me; I

program fosters the development of students

learned that science can be taught in a myriad of

who are passionate about science. It provides a

manners and that there is never a concrete

pathway for youth to connect their interests to

solution to a problem. It appeals to both logic and

education.

creativity.

Chief Science Officers are middle and high school

students

from

around

the

world

Before

joining

organisation,

I

the

noticed

Chief the

Science severe

Officer lack

of

empowered to identify gaps in areas of STEM

communication about STEM in my community.

that matter to them personally; then they build

There

leadership skills as they develop related action

extracurriculars centered around STEM offered at

plans and champion interest and engagement

my school; and there was little to no information

in STEM and innovation.

regarding current STEM events. In 2019, I learned

were

very

few

academic

courses

or

Student voice is a key component of the

about this Chief Science Officer organisation that

program; CSOs are taught to advocate for

focuses on improving STEM culture in communities,

themselves and their fellow students. To that

and I joined without hesitation.

end, in the following compilation of illustrations, the CSOs will describe their own experiences. CSO Ananda, an 11th-grade student at

Banneker High School in Atlanta, GA, says: From a young age, I have enjoyed science

I began working towards sharing information about the STEM domain to high school students in the Metro-Atlanta area where I am located. I was able to create an action plan revolving around FCAST,

a county-wide podcast and Instagram

immensely. In primary school, my teacher

page that would connect with students. [These

would teach us about the wonders of science

programs have a broad reach, as they are now

with interactive lessons and assignments (e.g.,

developed and accessed by students from several

Oreo visuals of the phases of the moon, the TV

schools in the region.] Our goal is to give support to

show Science Court, Bill Nye the Science Guy,

our community and help it improve.

student-made raps about the water cycle, etc.).

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As a CSO, working with adults and students who

To me, being a Chief Science Officer means

understand my vision and wish for it to come to

being connected with a talented group of

fruition has given me hope. It is my sincere

student leaders from around the world who are

ambition

passionate

to

make

a

positive

impact

on

the

about

STEM.

As

a

CSO,

I

feel

continued improvement of human connection,

powerful and capable. It’s incredible to consider

compassion, and creativity.

the collective impact that the students in this program are making worldwide.

CSO Hailey is a sophomore at Hood River Valley

I feel privileged to have the opportunity to be

High School in Oregon. She is also engaging her

a part of that impact. When I reflect on my

community, but her focus has been on younger

personal development as a CSO, the most

students rather than high schoolers. She says:

notable change has been my self-assurance.

I’ve been working with other CSOs in my district to

The

leadership,

networking,

and

provide online tutoring for middle school students.

communication skills that I’ve gained through

Our goal was to offer a free, convenient, and

this program have made me much more

student-run

confident.

tutoring

service

during

distance

learning. We’ve helped several students, and we will continue tutoring for as long as we can. I am also

Imagine the positive impact that CSO Hailey is

working with the National Inventors Hall of Fame

making on her rural town, opening the eyes of

(NIHF) to distribute innovation kits to elementary

younger kids to the exciting world of science as

school students and help run a camp this summer.

she provides near-peer mentorship to them. Her

Science is my passion, and I love teaching it as

impact is not just limited to the local area; as a

much as I love learning it. As a freshman in high

member of the International Leadership Council,

school, I collaborated with another CSO to teach

she regularly meets with like-minded students

Friday Night STEM classes. Over six weeks, we

around the world, and they share ideas and

taught around 30 elementary school students

enthusiasm.

about various topics of STEM. We led hands-on activities like fruit DNA extraction, paper plate roller coasters, robot coding, acid-base reactions, and math puzzles. The students loved it, and it was an incredible experience for me!

One such student is CSO Amely, a junior from Instituto Anglomexicano in Sonora, Mexico. She describes her first experience with the other CSO students and her action plan: My story starts when I got selected to be part of CSO. I didn’t know a whole lot about STEM; I just thought it was a subject in my school, and I didn’t know how much STEM would impact the world. Then I attended a leadership training and got to talk with a STEM professional. Through that experience, the CSO program started my love for STEM and also opened my eyes to new opportunities. I hadn’t realized how many girls are studying for engineering and math careers because, in Mexico, girls often don’t hear they are able to enter a STEM career. It’s been amazing for me to see that a girl is capable of doing that and more. My action plan is developing a space for the international CSO membership to express their

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

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concerns and share ideas and plans to help the planet. In this “CSO for the World” group, we meet monthly to talk about what we are doing right now to help the ecosystem, and we will invite professionals in ecology, biology, and other fields to share their learning with us. This shared knowledge will make us more conscious about how others in our world are feeling, and I hope it will help us positively impact the Earth in all our CSO communities.

Amely’s description of her personal experience is what leaders of the Chief Science Officer program hope to achieve in the lives of more youth around the world, as they meet peers and mentors who share a love of science and learn how to lead their communities in a positive direction. She says: The real meaning of being a CSO can be explained in two words: happiness and vision. I am happy because I’ve found a safe space to express myself, sharing all the ideas that I have and feeling comfortable talking through ideas and stepping into the role of a leader. All CSOs are establishing a vision for the future, helping more people and future generations to know the impact of STEM and how it’s a big part of all of our lives.

These CSOs, and hundreds more, are individually

and

collectively

stepping

into

leadership to positively impact STEM education and

individual

Officers

communities.

International

is

a

Chief

program

Science of

the

SciTech Institute, a nonprofit organization based in

Phoenix,

Arizona.

ChiefScienceOfficers.org.

Learn

more

at

Claire LaBeaux Claire is the Communications Director for the Chief Science Officers International, a program of the SciTech Institute. She coaches student Chief Science Officers

on

education,

engaging as

well

peers as

to

pursue

communicating

STEM with

education administrators and regional and national policymakers.

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S T E M

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P R A C T I C E

FIRST LEGO LEAGUE – MORE THAN A COMPETITION DR CHARLOTTE FORWOOD AND ISHANA SURIYAPPERUMA

Setting the Scene

Six core values lie at the heart of First LEGO

Picture the scene: a custom designed EV3 robot

League: discovery, innovation, impact, inclusion,

navigating LEGO constructions on a large game

teamwork, and fun. Alongside demonstration of

board, attempting to complete challenges within

these core values, teams complete a robot design

a given time frame. Tension is high. Will the robot

and robot game programming challenge as well as

perform as it did in training? Will the structures

an innovation project using the engineering design

stay in place or create additional barriers to

process. Participation requires good organisational

completing the tasks? How might the judges

skills, a willingness to try new things and to deal

react to the proposed solutions in the innovation

with failure. (This is a regular occurrence with the

project? Team members look on intently as over

programming.) Each year a new challenge theme

the course of two and a half minutes, months of

is released in August. The 2020 theme was Replay

problem solving, programming and perseverance

with a focus on encouraging people to be more

come to fruition, and later proudly share their

active and playful. The robot game board reflected

ideas, learning journey and reflections with a

this theme and the innovation project’s aim was to

panel of international judges. However, First

generate a solution to the issue of decreased

LEGO

activity levels.

League

is

so

much

more

than

a

competition.

Students at Camberwell Girls Grammar School

First LEGO League is an annual event consisting

have participated in First Lego League for the past

of three different divisions, depending on the age

three years. It aligns with our ...BY DESIGN Learning

of the students (4 – 16). In 2020, 600,000+

Architecture Design Principles of Making Sense of

students

100

the World and Adding Value, informed by the

countries around the world. First and foremost,

OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 Project.

the aim of the event is to build an interest in

Despite the challenges of a long lockdown in

STEM through collaborative, real-world, hands-on

Melbourne, we entered two teams in 2020, with

challenges.

students taking the initiative and utilising Zoom

competed

from

more

than

technology, Miro boards, shared OneNote

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

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notebooks and collaborative Word documents to

the beginning I had no knowledge of coding, so I

communicate with each other and collaborate on

deep dived into research and design, which helped

their learning journal.

me develop those skills. By observing and working alongside the robot designers and programmers in

A Student’s Perspective

my team, I now have a better understanding of

Good time management skills are essential as well

as

teamwork

and

collaboration.

We

participated in student-organised weekly Zoom

coding and its uses. This was important as in the presentation every team member was expected to talk about every aspect of the challenge.

meetings as well as touch points with our coach and

made

sure

communication

we

with

were

each

in

constant

other.

We

Intellectual Playfulness

used

The playful element of First LEGO League cannot

shared documents to collate information and

be underestimated. While there is good awareness

thoughts. We considered everyone’s ideas as we

of the importance of play for young children, there is

worked towards the final solution. This required

a body of research which highlights the importance

good communication skills including the ability

of

to listen carefully and compromise.

Adolescent brains are still developing so play helps

play

for

adolescents

too

(Conklin,

2015).

Being involved in First LEGO League for several

with executive functioning skills such as decision

years has allowed us to learn from other teams

making and memory (Hayes, 2020), as well as the

and

development of creative thinking, social interaction

past

experiences

understanding

of

to

what

gain makes

a

broader a

great

innovation project and what essential aspects need to be considered. In our first year, our project was quite simple. Last year, we used

skills and independence. First LEGO League provides students with the opportunity to engage in both cognitive and social play, creative expression and demonstrate competence.

‘what if’ thinking a lot more and this really helped us to come up with alternatives, more rigorous research, and a creative solution – a website. We were rewarded with second place for our Innovation Project at the National Championships South and a LEGO cup of course! As a Year 7 and 8 team, we had classes at different times, so we had to organise meetings that accounted for this. Having different year

Girls in STEM and Getting Started

levels working together meant that we gathered

First LEGO League is one-way girls can be exposed

a wider range of viewpoints than if we were all

to and involved in the broad applications of STEM.

the same age.

Swinburne University is a sponsor of the Australian

You do not need to have any experience of

competition and in our first year of involvement,

robotics to get started in First LEGO League.

provided a mentor for our teams. Their Innovation

When I started in Year 7, I had no understanding

Precinct sponsors the RoboCats team (for 14 – 18-

of robotics or coding, but I was intrigued to

year-old girls) as part of their commitment to

discover more and learn what is possible. I recommend having a go even if you feel that you do not know a lot about robotics. There are so many ways you can be involved. You can be a researcher, designer, or programmer; or you can lead the team and keep everyone organised. At

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

building STEM skillsets and mindsets in girls. BAE Systems was also key to our onboarding, providing us with EV3 robots, and the CGGS Parents and Friends

Association

supported

our

involvement

through the provision of LEGO extension kits. So, our advice is to give it a go; novices are most definitely welcome and well supported.

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Dr Charlotte Forwood Charlotte Forwood is the Director of Learning Design and Development at Camberwell Girls Grammar School. As a dually qualified teacher and speech pathologist, she has a particular interest in oral language and explicit literacy instruction. Her doctoral thesis explored the differences

in

understanding

of

Secondary

Science vocabulary. Charlotte is the author of several

publications

Investigations,

an

including

award-winning

STEM resource

which uses the design thinking process for The rules were recently changed to ensure that teams

with

minimal

resources

are

not

disadvantaged. You never know, you might just even end up with a LEGO trophy or two as a bonus!

problem solving. She enjoys working with diverse teams to harness collective creativity. She has a lifelong love of LEGO, enjoys tinkering with

tech

and

thoroughly

enjoys

the

opportunity to coach First LEGO League teams.

References

- Camberwell Girls Grammar School. (November, 2020). …BY DESIGN Learning Architecture Digital Book

https://www.flipsnack.com/6677BE5569B

/cggs-by-design/full-view.html - Conklin, H. G. (March, 2015). Play isn’t just for preschoolers. Time. Retrieved 8 April, 2021, from https://time.com/3726098/learning-through-playteenagers-education/ - Fine, S.A. (2014). A Slow Revolution: Towards a Theory of Intellectual Playfulness in High School Classrooms. 84(1).

Harvard

Retrieved

Educational 8

April,

Review. 2021,

Vol. from

https://www.hepg.org/her-home/issues/harvardeducational-review-volume-84-number1/herarticle/a-slow-revolution%E2%80%9D -

First

Lego

League

Australia

https://firstaustralia.org/programs/first-legoleague/ - Hayes, H. (January, 2020.) The importance of play

Ishana Suriyapperuma Ishana is currently in Year 9 at Camberwell Girls Grammar

School.

She

deeply

enjoys

Mathematics and Science as well as Physical Education. She coaches and plays in a club basketball team which she loves attending. She also loves spending time with family and friends and exploring all the new ideas she encounters. She has been involved in First LEGO League for the past two years and is looking forward to being involved again in 2021.

for adolescents. Retrieved 12 May, 2021, from https://www.heatherhayes.com/the-importanceof-play-for-adolescents/ - OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 Position Paper. Retrieved 12 May, 2021, from https://www.oecd.org/education/2030-project/ contact/E2030_Position_Paper_(05.04.2018).pdf

STEM|ED MAGAZINE

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S T E M

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P R A C T I C E

A FIRST LEGO LEAGUE JOURNEY AISHA KRISTIANSEN

Watching students heavily engaged in solving

opportunity like no other. During the season, this

real world problems and building/coding robots

group of talented students explored the problem of

is the hallmark of the FIRST

League

the Northern Pacific Sea Star, which was an

thinking,

introduced marine species carried into our local

creativity and collaboration at its heart, students

waters by international cargo ships. The sea stars

embark on an extraordinary journey to identify

were overrunning the Bellarine Peninsula near

solutions using the integrated pillars of STEM

Geelong (Victoria, Australia) and wreaking havoc on

Education. To be successful requires connecting

the fragile ecosystem. ‘Cre8te the Future’ went on to

with experts, working with skilled mentors, and

work

undergoing extensive research, which culminates

underwater robot that would humanely reduce sea

in the creation of a prototype. Running alongside

star numbers by euthanasia, to restore ecological

the Innovation Project, the team of up to 10

balance in the region. From researching the Science

students

behind

Challenge

program.

also

With

builds

LEGO

critical

and

programs

an

with

Deakin

marine

University

diversity

to

right

design

through

an

to

autonomous EV3 robot that solves a series of

Engineering an underwater robot solution, the

season-specific missions. Ongoing iteration of

STEM connections were natural and intuitive.

the robot and attachments requires students to continually

to

brought about a rich investigation into turning the

complete the maximum number of missions

local Alcoa aluminium smelter into a wondrous

within

frame.

Supertree grove, like one located in Singapore. The

Underpinning both categories are the FIRST Core

students spoke with one of the architects of the

Values - the very essence of the program!

Singapore Supertrees based in the United Kingdom

the

design 2

½

engineer minutes

solutions,

The next season addressed ‘Hydrodynamics’ and

time

My connection with this innovative STEM

and worked closely with local water authorities to

program dates back to 2016, with a group of 8

design a state-of-the-art water hydration system.

students solving ‘Animal Allies’. From my earliest

This innovation project would see the team be

involvement with the program, I knew that

awarded a spot to represent Australia at the First

FIRST

Lego League Competition in Debrecen, Hungary in

Ⓡ LEGOⓇ League was a dynamic learning

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2018. The team worked tirelessly to fundraise the almost

$50,000

competition,

needed

whilst

to

make

it

to

the

forging

some

invaluable

corporate partnerships along the way. ‘Cre8te the Future’ also raised awareness of STEM in the local community,

including

speaking

at

corporate

events, running robotics workshops, and holding meetings with local Ministers of Parliament (MP’s) to discuss the possibility of turning their idea for the region into a reality. The team was even mentioned in the State Parliament! The ‘Into Orbit’ season provided a new set of challenges for our students. In secret, I had applied for 8 scholarships to the University of Melbourne’s Space Program totalling $5,000 and every child was accepted. They spent the week with

leading

space

scientists,

including

the

famous Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield. For the innovation project, the students developed a solution to the feelings of isolation the astronauts suffered whilst on the space station. The team

Fast forward to 2021 and a move from Australia

created a 4D virtual reality experience using Unity

to

- an advanced programming software - and an

Brandenburg International School, we continue

electric

Automotive

the journey of embedding this invaluable program

Company they set about rewiring. The team would

into our curriculum. This year’s RePLAY season

go on to win the National Design Engineering

challenged our students to consider how to

Award for their robot and would travel to Nepal for

increase motivation and physical activity - a timely

a STEM Outreach Program. The students were

theme in the backdrop of a global pandemic. Our

committed to “paying it forward” by sharing their

incredibly talented BBIbotS team comprised of

skills

this

Years/Grade 5 & 6 students worked with experts

changing

from Seattle to create a hologram workout buddy

chair

and

developing

donated

expertise nation.

experience for us all.

by

with It

was

Ford

children a

life

in

Germany.

In

my

second

year

at

Berlin

in the form of sports glasses and a customised App. This project has been nominated for the FIRST Global Innovation Award. Our Grade 7 & 8 team - the RobotSapiens - addressed the issue of cycling accidents, designing a 360° detection system using haptic and light technology to alert the cyclist. The FIRST an

absolute

Ⓡ LEGOⓇ League program is

game-changer

for

schools.

It

empowers students to be the change they want to see in the world, whilst incorporating STEM learning in a holistic and engaging way. Reach out to one of the regional partners today and get involved in the new season - Cargo Connect! 3...2...1...LEGO!

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Aisha Kristiansen Aisha is the EdTech Integrator at Berlin Brandenburg

International

School

in

Germany. She supports staff and students to understand the transformational impact of education

technologies

on

their

learning

environments.

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E D U C A T O R

S P O T L I G H T

|

C O N C E P T U A L

P L A Y W O R L D

C H A M P I O N

INCLUDEDU.ONLINE ENSURING ALL LEARNERS HAVE ACCESS TO A PERSONALISED LEARNING EXPERIENCE RYAN EVANS

Whilst arguably Assistive Technology is not

With the right guidance learners with an

going to resolve a learner’s challenges, which

additional need can equip themselves with an

they may face daily in both their educational and

effective

home environment, it should be both identified

overcome

additional

and used fully as a mechanism of support. It

limitations

being

should form part of the practitioners’ toolbox and

achievements. Every child should be given every

used

opportunity to reach their full potential and every

to

supplement

other

teaching

and/or

learning experiences, in the classroom and/or at

toolkit

of

technologies hurdles

placed

on

in

order

and

to

reduce

attainments

and

possible resource utilised to this end.

home. Every curriculum aims to develop ambitious, capable learners, that prepare them for the rest of their lives. In this day and age, digital literacy is a necessity in the modern workplace, whilst the role of technology is vital to everyday operations, therefore, it needs to be developed from a young age

and

this

applies

to

all,

including

and

especially those learners with Additional Learning Needs. As educators, it is our duty to be aware of the countless applications and tools available to

In 2020, whilst involved in Google’s Innovator

support their learning and development, securing

Program, Ryan Evans identified that; until Assistive

equal

Technology

opportunities

for

all.

Learners

with

becomes

more

widely

used

with

difficulties or disabilities such as limited sensory

educators and with families having increased

perception, reading, writing and mobility may

access and an increased understanding of how to

face obstacles upon beginning their working

get the most from it, it will remain only a ‘potential’

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Having

graduated

from

Google’s

Innovator

Academy, Ryan has now developed and launched a

free

to

use,

one

stop

shop

for

Assistive

Technology, IncludEdu.Online.The site is intended to reach educators and families globally to support them

in

providing

personalised

learning

experiences for all in their care. Please feel free to visit the site, provide feedback online or via the Twitter page or even sign up to become an ambassador, via the Ambassador sign up page. to bring about the changes it has the promise to make. Technology, and more specifically Assistive Technology,

can

strengthened curriculums

provide

inclusive through

individuals access

a

digitally

with

to

their

scaffolded,

personalised learning experience. As a former Head of Faculty at a Special Needs Residential School, Ryan is extremely passionate about facilitating access for EVERY pupil to curriculums

that

continues

to

engage

witness

and

a

inspire.

constant

Ryan theme

throughout schools locally, regionally, nationally and globally that staff: “don’t know what they don’t know”. Having previously worked in various education

settings

across

Wales

and

more

recently, across the world through his role at Aspire 2Be, he feels strongly that Assistive Tech needs

to

become

educational

more

widely

establishments

and

used he

in has

experienced first hand the benefits and results of their use in the classroom. With statistics showing that up to 1 in 4 learners in a mainstream classroom as having an

Ryan Evans

additional learning need, it only highlights the

Ryan is a Partner Technologist for Google at

need for additional resources within most, if not

Aspire 2Be. He was previously a Head of Faculty

all, classrooms or settings. Teachers are often

at a residential special needs school and is

unaware

and

currently also the Inclusion Lead at Aspire 2Be.

hardware available to support, scaffold, reassure

Ryan is a Google Innovator, Apple Teacher, and

and give further opportunities to all learners, but

Microsoft Certified Educator.

of

the

plethora

of

software

most especially to learners experiencing an additional need. One thoughtfully selected piece of

software

or

hardware

can

enhance

the

learning experience of a child who may be in need of multiple opportunities to overlearn a skill before moving on to any additional steps necessary to fully accomplish a task.

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Resource Corner

RESOURCE

CORNER Looking for practical ideas and resources to implement immediately into your classroom? Check out these STEM resources collated from around the world.


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THE STEM BOOK NOOK WITH BECK AND STEPH

"Simplify, slow down, be kind and don’t forget to have art in your life.” Eric Carle As educators we have many opportunities to present learning to the students in ways that allow them to make meaningful connections. We are never limited to one framework, practice or pedagogy. Teachers are artisans; they use their pallet to mix the right hue to paint their classroom learning experience. Unexpectedly, these experiences can sometimes be emulsified. The students and the learning seem juxtaposed or even separate from the perceived trajectory, and this is when we know that we have permission to step to the side of the journey to demonstrate or model whatever it is required for the students to again actively participate. One of the most important parts of any teaching and learning cycle is to not only value the voice of your students, but to also to honour the voice of the teacher within. Only then can learning truly be powerful and engaging. The below sequence is designed to ignite and inspire us to grow as educators, whilst immersing in a social learning environment. We hope that the frameworks and ideas presented may be those tools you need to present a masterpiece filled with the delectable moments that each student will devour. It will be these moments which will see your caterpillars grow, spread their inquiry wings and fly.

TITLE: The Butterfly House AUTHOR: Katy Flint STAGE/AGE: Preschool (Early Childhood) - Year 6 (Stage 3) CONCEPTS: Collaboration, Critical and Creative Thinking, Solution Architect, Future Builder, Scientific Concepts, Problem Solving POSSIBLE LEARNING LINKS: Key Learning Areas: English, Science, Mathematics, Geography General Capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capacity Cross- Curriculum Priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures and Sustainability

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REVIEW: The Butterfly House provides a fresh perspective on the life cycle of the butterfly and an opportunity for students to discover the many species of butterflies and moths around the world. The beautiful illustrations will draw students in as they explore the finer details in the pictures. Whilst the text will build students' metalanguage, basic understandings of the diverse features of these adorable minibeasts and create a space for many wonderings.

CONNECTING ACTIVITY: Introduction As an introduction read the initial pages of the book including the introduction, the hatchery, butterfly or moth and the feeding station. Spend some time as a class co-constructing a sketchnote on the ideas as you complete a detailed read of the text. Pause and add to the document as a class and include any important images or phrases to support the growth of the collective knowledge bank. Feranado and He (N.D) have a fascinating research piece on the effect size and benefits of implementing the notion of sketchnoting into the classroom context. This concept does require some pre-teaching and it may be worth integrating this into reading (summarising or character descriptions) prior to using in a scaffolded inquiry. Google Keep has a few different tools that could be used for this purpose. Students could collaborate on a variety of different types of boards to co-construct and build upon their knowledge base.

Google Keep: An option for collaborative construction of sketchnotes Brainstorming This informative text invites students to step into the glasshouse and explore the magical world of butterflies and moths. Given each page works as an independent text, invite students to organise themselves into groups of three and select a species to investigate. Using the information and images in the book (and online if so desired) students gather information and share their wonderings about the species selected. Students then come back together to share their findings, interesting facts and wonderings with each other. Students record their thoughts as this will feed into the next stages. It is important that the students collate their information in a purposeful manner and this may be an opportunity to consolidate learning around the use of Google Keep or even manual sketchnoting.

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Pedagogical process/support/scaffold Through using a provocation such as Austin’s butterfly students can begin to examine their subject of study through scientific eyes. This clip invites students to consider how feedback can be a useful tool when provided in a constructive and specific manner to guide and improve outcomes. The teaching of this sequence provides an opportunity to develop metacognitive processes essential to 21st century education. This activity not only creates an opportunity for students to provide and accept feedback, but also to think about solutions (feed flow) and then to use these solutions in an authentic and purposeful manner to improve outcomes/product.

Considering student conversations as metacognition. © Beck Keough Research For the research phase engage students in a SOLE (Self Organised Learning Environment). This approach draws on the work of Sugata Mitra and his ‘Hole in the Wall’ research, which is highlighted through his TED Talk. Below are the guidelines for conducting a SOLE, these can be modified and adapted to meet the needs of your students. Encourage students to help shape the question around butterflies that they would like to investigate. The role of the teacher in this approach is to be the most exceptional grandparent, ask questions, offer wonderings whilst giving students the space to delve into the content and inquiry for themselves. SOLE Guidelines: Students have access to the internet for their research. Students work in groups of two or more. Students are able to swap groups, check in with others and share information. Students can record useful terms and/or websites on a whiteboard to support others. Students can present their findings however they like. Once students have researched their question, bring them back together as a whole group to share their findings. It would be worth considering the skills of the group you are teaching. Can they use iMovie? Are they capable of creating a quadorama to represent their learning or maybe they are avid podcasters? The presentation options are only limited by the

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skillset of the learners. Remember that there is always an opportunity to mentor or run workshops to bolster skills if a student indicates they are requiring support or guidance. For students who require additional support, it would be key for them to have some modelled options/templates to choose from. Ensure that the accessibility meets their criterion and provides opportunity for them to demonstrate their knowledge and skills with minimal cognitive load.

Design Phase The design phase will develop out of students' findings from their SOLEs. Guided by students' interest, this phase could be used to design garden beds, pots, and whole gardens suitable for planting natives to attract butterflies into the school grounds. Their wonderings may lead them into greater community projects exploring country, space or place. SOLE is organised as a methodology that is quite succinct and is driven by time. It is outlined by the three overarching sections of question, investigation and review (Mitra, 2015). We recommend you connect and peruse the full SOLE toolkit to assist you in understanding how the framework fits. Connecting to community organisations would enhance the project and provide authentic links. For example, talk to a local botanical garden about an excursion or participating in regeneration projects. There are many opportunities for this given the recent bushfires globally. Connect with an organisation such as the local council or participate in authentic experiences such as ‘The Big Butterfly Count” or “Butterflies Australia” to participate in authentic scientific data collation.

Presenting a Concept The social dynamic of this model is of paramount importance. Scaffolding learning through curiosity and collaborative experiences ensures the students maintain their voice. The presentation of the concept and/or learning is significant. Ensure that there is an authentic audience for the learning. Suggestions include collating a digital presentation to share with the school community on social media, hosting other students in the school to ask questions and view the learning, inviting in an expert to offer feedback on the learning or to host parents and community in a showcase of learning. In upper grades, there is an opportunity to dive into infographics, design thinking, problem solving and computational thinking concepts. A great example of the implementation of ICT can be found at Coding in the Elementary Grades . Students use Scratch Junior to demonstrate their understanding of the process a caterpillar undertakes to become a butterfly. Encouraging students to link the conceptualisation to conservation and endangered animals encourages authentic links and an ability to educate others. Canva is a great platform for looking at the notion of an infographic. Lower grades can engage in a number of hands-on experiences to demonstrate learning including the creation of stop motions. A beautiful example can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4rAPUT7fWI. This demonstration allows for not only the use of ICT skills, but also the demonstration of verbal skills including the use of vocabulary.

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Canva is an ideal platform for infographics. Conclusion The SOLE framework is key to allowing students to have voice and choice within their learning. The ability to link to other learning areas and to bolster vocabulary should not be undervalued. There are many opportunities to bring the investigation into a variety of learning areas such as Geography (mapping), Mathematics (measurement, data) and English (reading, viewing, spelling, vocabulary and reading). This concept can be adapted to any animal, you could inquire into insects in your playground or perhaps visit a local garden. Think what you can do to connect your students to the learning.

Join our Closed Facebook Group Inspiring Picture Book Ideas for Teachers to share your The Butterfly House learnings and find more inspiring ideas from other teachers.

List of other texts Wonder Earth: Exploring our living home by Zanni Louise and Tiff Bollhorn Read this book with a Worm by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen Mad About Minibeasts by Giles Anderson and David Woljtowycz The Wonderful Wisdom of Ants by Philip Bunting

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RESOURCE REVIEW

HIGH POSSIBILITY STEM CLASSROOMS: INTEGRATED STEM LEARNING IN RESEARCH AND PRACTICE BY DR JANE HUNTER BY FI MORRISON

I was given a copy of 'High Possibility STEM Classrooms: integrated STEM learning in Research and Practice"' for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

If you're looking for a high-quality publication that combines evidence-based research and STEM education, and the practical implementation of such ideas into teaching and learning, then Dr Jane Hunter's new book is for you. High Possibility STEM Classrooms: Integrated STEM Learning in Research and Practice explores three mixed

STEM learning for projects, programs and sequences of

method studies in 14 Australian primary schools in diverse

lessons. Chapter 3 has the first case study conducted in five

contexts. The 59 teachers who participated in the research

schools with students from diverse cultural backgrounds

used the High Possibility Classrooms framework and STEM

and ideas of how to successfully do this are provided.

curriculum to transform their classroom teaching into well

Chapter 4 targets teachers who work with students in three

integrated often transdisciplinary (not siloed) learning for

disadvantaged schools and Chapter 5 offers ideas from

more than 1500 students.

teachers of Integrated STEM in highly urban contexts.

The book supports Dr Hunter's beliefs that inquiry, project-

Chapter 6 provides some fascinating details of extraordinary

based and design challenges are essential to K-6 Integrated

STEM teachers in classrooms from around Australia and

STEM education. She uses the term Integrated STEM with a

across the world.

capital “I” to denote the focus on bringing the disciplines

I recommend this book highly for classroom teachers,

together. Too often STEM is just Mathematics or Science

middle leaders, aspiring school leaders and system decision

curriculum in primary school classrooms. A huge variety of

makers who want to understand how to integrate STEM

methods were used by Dr Hunter to gather data for each

well; it’s suitable for those new to STEM, and those wanting

study in the book – it details teacher and principals’

to understand the critical role of Engineering and what best-

perceptions of STEM education, as well as middle leaders in

practice in STEM education looks like. It’s a guide and a

six schools who drove the leadership of STEM education

current resource with discussion pointers at the end of each

through professional development and long-term academic

chapter that could be used for professional development for

partnerships with a university-based colleague.

those wanting to create a rich STEM culture across their

The thing I liked most about Dr Hunter's book is that it not only takes the reader through the research conducted at

school

that

is

both

engaging,

transdisciplinary,

and

meaningful for the learning of every student.

each site before it culminates in a ‘new blueprint’ that

Follow Jane on Twitter @janehunter01 and you can buy

reveals 10 directions for High Possibility STEM Schools in

Dr Hunter's book by visiting her website or purchasing it off

Australia. In Chapter 2 there is a copy of the template that

Amazon.

was used by the teachers in the research to plan Integrated

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RESOURCE REVIEW

AMAZED! CSIRO'S A TO Z OF BIODIVERSITY BY ANDREA WILD BY FI MORRISON I was given a copy of 'Amazed!' for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

AmAZed takes readers on a journey through some of Australia's

most incredible natural phenomena, using the alphabet as a scaffold for the journey. Each letter includes 3 - 4 plants, animals, or microbes found in Australia, along with some noted Scientists and their work. Each page includes stunning, full colour images and amazing facts and information about each subject. The level of detail within each page is incredible, and would suit students from ages 10 onwards for independent reading (based on reading and comprehension ability). This book would be perfect for engaging students in learning about the biodiversity in Australia, about sustainability, and about ecosystems in general. AmAZed would also make an excellent reference resource for an

inquiry unit where students chose a particular aspect of the Australian biodiversity to explore. AmAZed could be used as a stimulus text to explore the

Australian ecosystem, before allowing students to create their own class shared text around a topic or subject in Australia they had chosen to study. This book could also be suitable for younger students, as read by their teachers, for finding information to construct information reports about Australian flora and fauna. I highly recommend AmAZed for educators of upper primary students to help them engage in inquiry. If you'd like to grab a copy of AmAZed (or look into some class sets), visit the website here for more information.

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#STEMEDMAGAZINE FEATURES This month we had the awesome Chris Woods offer 3 free copies of his book Daily STEM to our readers - one on Facebook, one on Twitter and one on Instagram. We also decided to throw in some STEM ED Merch to make the prize even more amazing! Readers were encouraged to invite their friends and colleagues to participate in the giveaway as well. Below we have the 3 winners for the Daily STEM book - Congratulations, and please contact Fi Morrison at hello@stemedmagazine.com to claim your prizes!

Facebook: Chelsea Walsh

Twitter: Michele Pikunic

Instagram: stemwithmrsgreen

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#STEMEDMAGAZINE FEATURES

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Thank you to the following people who have helped make this magazine possible: Dr Sandy Nicoll Beck Keough Dr Stephanie Smith Chris Woods Cameron Ross Sarah Dunifon Dr Sarika Kewalramani Dr Ioanna Palaiogou Professor John Siraj-Blatchford Dr Maria Dardanou Monique Dalli Lucas Johnson Emily Hunt Sandy Roberts Tricia Fuglestad Cassandra Lowry Claira Wilson Amanda Buschmann Nikki Vreugdenhil Claire LaBeaux Dr Charlotte Forwood Ishana Suriyapperuma

Aisha Kristiansen Ryan Evans Jane Junter The Education Factory CSIRO Publishing AND A HUGE THANK YOU TO OUR GENEROUS PATRONS WHO HELP KEEP THE MAGAZINE RUNNING:

Robin George Erin

Chris Charlotte Katrina

+ Incredible family, friends and colleagues who have encouraged and supported this passion project over the last month.

While the magazine attempts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publication, it provides no express or implied warranties or makes any representations in relation to any content. The information provided 'as is' and without any guarantees as to its accuracy, currency, completeness or reliability. The magazine reserves the right to amend the information in this magazine at any time and without notice. STEMlED and the editors accept no responsibility for any loss or damage occasioned by use of this information contained. All access to and use of this magazine and its information is at the risk of the user. This magazine contains links to third party websites which are provided for convenience only and should not be construed as an endorsement or approval of the magazine and its editors. This disclaimer will also apply to the website.


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