HCS STEM Week

Hallett Cove School is a STEM Works school with a 3.5 million dollars grant. It is anticipated that the architectural design of the buildings will transform our learning spaces to nurture a Problem Based Learning pedagogy and increase student numbers in STEM subjects.

The staff have collaborated and established a school STEM Vision and the school has prioritised STEM as a strategic direction and have engaged staff in 2 PFD’s with a STEM focus in 2016. Vision is:

  • Our STEM vision at HCS is engage students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths by using an integrated approach which provides all students with access to challenging, relevant and engaging tasks.
  • STEM at HCS empowers students and staff to develop skills for tomorrow. Teachers engage students through well-resourced, real-life, rich learning tasks that enhance skills for new career pathways in a rapidly developing world. This is achieved through working collaboratively and creatively to nurture higher order thinking, preparing students for the future.
  • Students solve problems using creativity, imagination, higher-order thinking skills, technical language, knowledge and understanding. They are confident learners and effective problem solvers who are able to take risks with their learning to achieve their goals.

STEM WEEK CONCEPT

STEM week has been deliberately programmed in Term 3, Week 3 to align with the National Science Week, which this year has a focus on Global Sustainability. Students in Years R-10 (1,100 students) will not be involved in a normal school week, day or lessons, they will be involved in a week of learning, structured around Problem Based Learning and STEM.

All teachers are involved (85 teachers). Teachers have identified multidisciplinary teaching teams to establish the teaching team to facilitate the learning for the week through the Problem Based Learning pedagogy. Students will choose a focus/interest that is being offered by the multidisciplinary teaching teams. The groups/teams could potentially be made up of multi-year level student.

The Problem Based Learning Framework for the week is structured around the 5 ‘E’s. Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend, Evaluate. It involves:

  • small groups/teams
  • facilitators (teachers) guide students rather than teach
  • a specific problem serves as the focus of the group and stimulates learning;
  • the problem is a vehicle for the development of problem solving skills, thereby stimulating the cognitive processes; and
  • new knowledge is obtained through Self-Directed Learning.

STEM Presentations, Tours and Innovation Awards

The week culminates in the Presentations and Tours on Friday. Each group will present their work, explain and evaluate their findings as part of the Hallett Cove School STEM Tour. Students, teachers, parents, community members and invited VIP guests will tour the school and have the opportunity to visit all of the exhibits. Special guests will be touring to judge the most innovative ideas and a number of STEM Innovation Awards will be awarded.

STEM Week 2017

STEM week was a huge success and there was a distinct buzz of excitement across the school. Students were really engaged in their learning and there was a large range of projects and innovative ideas.

The R-4 students worked on STEM workshops for part of each day. These had different themes such as ‘egg drop’, windmills, catapults and The Royal Show.

Year 5 students focussed on Rube Goldberg machines and the longest machine was over 22 steps, one of the most innovative delivered a tea bag into a cup.

Year 6-10 students had a variety of themes to choose from. The largest group was the RSPCA / Zoo group where students designed animal enrichment toys. There were so many great designs and several of them were actually taken away by the RSPCA for the animals to use! The Coding group worked on a huge robot called Roberto and many other smaller projects such as a Maths ‘App’. Several groups focussed on the environment with one group visiting the beach to look at rubbish, the students were surprised to find so much plastic and rubbish on our local beach. Other environment groups looked at sustainability within the school and devised some very innovative devices to encourage students to be responsible. These included basketball bin attachments and a “monster bin” designed to growl when rubbish goes in the bin.

On Friday we had several VIP guests:

  • Premier Jay Weatherill
  • Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham
  • South Australian Education Minister Susan Close
  • Federal MP Amanda Rishworth
  • Local MP David Spiers

There were many other guests as well including Chair of Governing Council Grant Roach, members of Governing Council and DECD STEM Project Officers. All of our guests were extremely impressed by the event and the high quality displays of student learning. Highlights of the tour were the R-4 display where our youngest students were able to explain their STEM projects and what they had learned during the week and the Sports Science presentation. Premier Weatherill was a very good sport and took part in a sprint race to test the timing devices that were designed and made by our students.

After lunch students toured the exhibits. It was wonderful to see our younger students in Years R-5 tour the 6-10 exhibits and watch the older students interacting with the younger ones to explain their work. Families and community members also visited during this time and enjoyed the range of projects on display.

Feedback from the week has been very good. Parents commented on what a great experience it was for the students and how much they had enjoyed it.

Senator Simon Birmingham has published a media release on his website on 11th August:

“Hallett Cove is a leader in promoting STEM education and should be proud of the achievements of their students and teachers,” Minister Birmingham said.

“As Federal Education and Training Minister I get to see firsthand how the country’s schools are encouraging students to get interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Hallett Cove School is at the forefront with initiatives like their STEM Week.

Federal MP Amanda Rishworth also praised the work of the students and teachers on her facebook page:

“Hallett Cove School is one of many schools in the South doing fantastic work in science, technology, engineering, and maths.<&nbsp> There were so many creative presentations displayed at HCS today that students have put together during STEM week. It is so important to get our young people interested in STEM, and it was great to see hundreds of students enthusiastic about it today” Facebook 11th August 2017

On Monday 14th August we hosted our STEM Week Assembly to acknowledge the most innovative ideas, including the overall STEM Innovation Award. Hallett Cove School is very proud of the efforts of our teachers and students in making STEM week a success and look forward to next year!

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