Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teaching to primary-school students: Some case studies.
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The role of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) cannot be underestimated in preparing global citizens for the challenges of the future. Innovation is key to economic growth and STEM is a key driver of innovation. Opportunities that engage and support young people in pursuing their love of STEM, or even in helping them to better understand what STEM entails, help to strengthen the future workforce and international standing (Chubb, 2015) As an initial part of a long-term plan for STEM education and skills development, primary-school students were introduced to STEM lessons in an effort to lay a foundation for the future. This chapter describes a collaborative STEM education project aimed at enhancing primary school teachers’ and students’ experiences of STEM. Design, delivery and assessment of three STEM-related lessons were the foci for the case studies described in this chapter. The research methods involved interpretative qualitative approaches based on exploratory case studies. The three selected lessons, teaching ‘Brakes’, ‘Oil Spills’ and ‘Solar Houses’, integrate all the four learning areas of STEM education. The variation in content across the lessons offers inspiration and reassurance that STEM can lead to a variety of wonderful and exciting career pathways. Taking students on this journey and helping them to find their own pathways in STEM was not only highly rewarding, but it also exposed students to learning new things and making independent choices. Pedagogical content knowledge generated through student and teacher feedback about these lessons proved useful as a scaffold for teachers in STEM learning areas.
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