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Understanding STEM's from Inquiry

The National Innovation and Science Agenda focusses on inspiring students to engage with the curriculum in STEM. It is these areas that are predicted to grow exponentially in the future, so it is important that we are engaging the boys with quality learning experiences to foster their interest in these subjects. Since the beginning of term 2, the Junior School has been concentrating on Science with hands-on learning. Year 4 have been looking at forces and were involved in a workshop with Big Bang Education, Year 5 are studying the solar system in addition to conducting experiments to practice the skills of working scientifically, Year 6 have been playing with electricity – in the safest possible way.

The study of science in schools has been broadened with the Australian Curriculum and what we are asking our students to demonstrate is more multifaceted. The knowledge components are still key, however students must also understand the impact science has on humans in the past and present. This explores cultural and ethical impacts. Students must also develop an array of inquiry skills. It is not enough to understand the content as the boys need to show a deep understanding: reflecting, predicting and experimenting. This is a robust process.

Year 6 has benefitted from the wisdom of Greg Quinn, our Assistant Dean of Teaching and Learning, in conducting experiments with electricity. They have looked at energy sources, storage and circuits. They have engaged with numerous hands-on experiences. This has enabled them to gain a greater understanding of the content, work scientifically by understanding the effect of variables and the impact these developments have made for us. The future of STEM at ATC is bright, pardon the pun.

Mr Gavin Baumber, Junior School Learning & Curriculum Leader
baumberg@atc.qld.edu.au