STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education is a process for teaching and learning that offers students opportunities to make sense of the world and take charge of their learning, rather than learning isolated bits and pieces of content. In the STEM environment, there is less emphasis on activities that demonstrate science content and a greater focus on those activities that allow students to engage in real world problems and experiences through project-based, experiential learning activities that lead to higher level thinking. Learning in a STEM environment compels students to understand issues, distill problems, and comprehend processes that lead to innovative solutions.
Students learn through experience where they talk and engage in discourse. They learn by shaping arguments and solving problems in the course of a continuous process of asking questions, experimenting, designing, creating, and gathering compelling supporting evidence. Through the implementation of STEM education and the best practices and strategies it promotes, teachers can construct a learning environment where students are given the opportunity to experience, talk, debate, discover, design, create, and build.
ME Program school partner, St Philips Christian College recently held a STEM event for students. The goal was to enable students to understand the importance of mathematics in their studies and answer the question, “what subjects are best for my future?”
The University of Newcastle Engineering and Built Environment faculty explained how Mathematics is used in everyday life and how an understanding of higher level mathematics is essential for future career options in Engineering. A Head Ship Builder from ME Program industry partner Forgacs explained how Mathematics is essential in his career path.
During 2014 students have been given the opportunity to study iSTEM as an elective. iSTEM is a Board of Studies endorsed subject that introduces students to a range of scientific, mathematical and technological concepts through a ‘hands on’ approach to engineering projects.
Senior School Engineering teacher, Mr David Bonzo said. ‘This semester, the Year 9 iSTEM class has been studying about the field of Aerodynamics. As part of their coursework, they designed, built and tested a number of model dragsters, with the goal of covering 20 metres in one second or less, using nothing more than a small CO2 canister for propulsion. Technologies used include 3D CAD engineering design software (Autodesk Inventor), 3D printers, CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamic) software, and an actual wind tunnel. 3D CAD is a type of designing software used by the students to assist in the creation, modification, analysis or optimisation of their three dimensional object.
Click on this link to see video of Model Car Dragster races