Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), is based on the philosophy of teaching the four disciplines using an integrated approach, a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications, rather than as separate discrete subjects. Why integrate subjects? Well I think, integration is needed in order to guide students’ way of thinking about our our current and future environmental and social issues. We need to reach beyond the idea of students simply achieving higher scores in Math and Science.
The process of STEM integration in authentic contexts is complex. Whilst I understand that Primary and Secondary contexts pose substantially different challenges for educators, this post will focus on the primary sector.
From a curriculum perspective, primary teachers should ‘jump’ at the idea of integration. Why? Well, the Australian Curriculum is ‘jam packed’ with content, integrating subjects should in theory reduce the content load. Furthermore, integrating subjects makes learning more meaningful and relevant for students. Junior primary teachers integrate curriculum areas well with ‘themed based’ units of work, why does this have to stop with the middle years?
In order to ignite some thought in relation to how primary teachers may integrate STEM subjects, I created the document below. It is called, ‘STEM Challenges for Students’. The idea behind the document was to create a list of open ended challenges, which involve STEM subjects, and link them to the Australian Curriculum content for different year levels. Note, my intention was to ignite thought, possibilities, foster open ended thinking and the idea of integration.
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