Our Curriculum - STEM

What is STEM education?

STEM education is a term used to refer collectively to the teaching of the disciplines within its teaching umbrella, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and also to a cross-disciplinary approach to teaching that increases student interest in STEM-related fields and improves students’ problem solving and critical analysis skills (Education Council, Australia, 2015).
In the Victorian Curriculum, the Learning Area “Technologies” comprises two strands, “Design and Technologies” and “Digital Technologies”. The Engineering component of STEM is taught through the Design and Technologies strand and the Technology component of STEM is taught through the Digital Technologies strand.

Why do we need it?

The Department of Education and Training (DET) released a document in September, 2016, called “STEM in the Education State” which stated that there is “a greater need for STEM capabilities than ever before. Our employers are increasingly looking for workers who are creative problem solvers, innovative and critical thinkers, and able to use new technologies”. The Office of the Chief Scientist has suggested that 75% of the fastest growing occupations require STEM knowledge and yet overall student results in Australia in science and mathematics are declining.
In addition to the career opportunities that STEM education provides is the opportunity to improve student engagement and participation, encourage active learning and address some real world problems and challenges through an innovative and stimulating STEM education program.

What does STEM education look like at Birralee Primary School?

Deeper learning occurs when a cross-disciplinary approach is adopted that exposes students to a range of thinking processes, skills, content, and applications. STEM can provide students with the chance to develop their critical thinking, creativity, communication and self-direction.
In years Prep – 6 the class programs will naturally incorporate the STEM learning focus into their broader program as the teachers delivering the STEM program also teach in the classroom as this allows classroom teachers who have an intimate knowledge of the program, a seamless integration with their maths, digital technology, design and technology and related subjects and capabilities.
During STEM lessons, students participate in hands-on activities designed to awaken curiosity and encourage perseverance. There is a strong focus on developing higher order thinking skills by emphasising collaboration, communication, research, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity.
Prep: Code and Go Mousebots
Year 1: Code and Go Mousebots, OSMO, Designing and building minibeasts
Year 2: Strawbees, STEM Building Kits, Designing and building carousels
Year 3: Strawbees, OSMO, STEM Building Kits
Year 4: Strawbees with Robotics, Turing Tumbles, Spheros
Year 5: Strawbees with Robotics, Turing Tumbles, Spheros
Year 6: Spheros, STEM Building Kits, Microbits, Designing and building electric carnivals  
STEM Club is run by the School STEM Captains every Thursday at lunch. 
Activities include:
  •         LEGO Club
  •         Minecraft Education
  •         Rube Goldberg machines
  •         Building catapults
  •         Making slime
  •         Domino mazes
Birralee also hosts a blog https://birraleestem.wordpress.com/ , that is updated regularly with STEM activities that can be done at home as a family.

Additional information, resources and activities about STEM can be found below: