STEM at Good Sam Primary School

Good Samaritan is a large Catholic primary school in Roxburgh Park (northern suburbs). It has a growing population of over 700 students. Our school community opens our arms to people from unfortunate backgrounds with almost half of our students' families having recently fled war-torn countries, mainly Iraq and Syria. Many of our students are from an EAL background. Our current specialist subjects include Physical Education, Visual Arts, Media Arts, Library and Italian.

This year, we are inquiring into STEM implementation at our school. Our main aim is to investigate how we can implement STEM either through an integrated inquiry approach or as specialist classes. As part of this inquiry, I began the year visiting a variety of schools in Melbourne to see what STEM looks like at their school. I then was accepted to be a partnership school with Scienceworks, but due to lockdown restrictions, unfortunately, we have not been able to follow through with our plan to work closely with Emilie.

By the end of 2021, our aim was to decide upon how we want STEM to look at Good Samaritan and how it will have the most impact and benefit on our students. We had plans to start small by working with a STEM Team across Years 5 and 6. With this team, we wanted to try what we learned from visiting schools, working with different organisations, and applying what we had learned from Scienceworks PL. We also wanted to enter the STEM Team into the STEM MAD showcase. Unfortunately, my STEM time hasn’t taken priority during lockdown and I haven’t been able to work with the team yet.

Through our partnership, we were aiming for teachers across 3 - 6 to gain further knowledge about STEM – understand what it is and how we can start looking at our teaching practices through a STEM lens. We would also had intentions of implementing Coding in all classes across Years 3 – 6. A STEM/Digital Technologies specialist teacher has been proposed to our principal for next year to at least start somewhere, as this year hasn’t quite worked out in our favour. We aren’t sure if that is going ahead as of yet.

As I am learning about STEM for the first time this year, we were hoping that through the partnership program we would have expertise guiding our school through this and to use this as an opportunity to support and upskill the staff. Teachers currently try and incorporate STEM challenges into their learning (eg. build the tallest tower) but these are one off activities that don’t necessarily follow the design process.

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