By Mrs Nikki Grauman- Head of Academic Care, Junior School
As the needs of students change and as advances in the way we teach and engage our younger students develop, we are seeing the focus in education shift away from lessons focused on teaching the “content”. Instead, we now recognise the need to teach students to learn and apply scientific skills, design thinking and digital-technology-production skills. Helping both boys and girls feel comfortable in the science classroom and increasing engagement has been an emphasis over the past few years through the introduction of STEM, theme-based learning tasks, that enable teachers to provide more diverse and practical activities and learning opportunities to students. The idea is to make what the students are learning more relevant to them and their world. This is done through providing personal choice, autonomy and relevance to their unique and collective needs.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) has been a central focus at Masada College Primary School, with the aim of meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of all of our students. Our students are exposed to practical, inquiry-based learning opportunities directed at increasing their engagement and expanding their thinking, questioning and wondering about the world around them. This is done through units that are centered around real world themes or problems and hands-on experiments that develop students planning, implementation and reflection skills and strategies. We are also engaging Young Engineers, an educational program that teaches students these concepts through coding and programming using ICT and Lego.
An essential component to our lessons is to begin with a rich task that will spark their curiosity through problem solving, thereby boosting engagement. Another skill that these activities encourage is collaboration between the teacher and their students and between students and their peers. In Rabindranath Tagore’s words “Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.”