I would like to highlight and congratulate the team of students who participated in the local round of the University of Newcastle’s Science and Engineering Challenge. This day event comprised of a range of challenges including bridge and tower building to withstand a range of forces along with electrical networking and design problems. Our school team competed as multiple small groups taking out a number of first places. Our combined point score placed William Carey Christian School in first place in this local round and positions us well for the upcoming state round.
This great result is just part of the STEM programs we are running at school. STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The promotion of these areas of study have become an increasing focus of the Australian Government and schools. https://www.studentsfirst.gov.au/restoring-focus-stem-schools-initiative
Earlier this month, I attended the AHISA National EducationForum held in Caberra where Ian Chubb (Australian of the Year 2011 and Australia’s Chief Scientist 2011-2016) spoke on the need for a cultural shift, in the way our society thinks about and supports STEM subjects and careers for both boys and girls.
He stated that in Australia’s Top 200 Rich List, only 2.5% of the entries were for people whose material success was based on innovation. The remainder had been from inheritance of family wealth or gain through property or mining activity. Ian Chubb’s point behind this information, is that for Australia’s future economy, there is no guarantee that material wealth will always come from property and mining development. With the reducing availability of these finite resources and their value dependent on factors outside our control, innovation plays a vital role in Australia’s economic and societal future.
Thus Ian Chubb’s push to schools and governments is to harness the naturally curious nature of children, the fundamental nature in all of us to ask ‘why?’ Schools need to provide opportunities for students to inquire about the world around them, to give them opportunity to access suitable technology and support to tackle the rigours of academic challenge.
What this means, is that William Carey will be continuing to promote STEM throughout the school to develop the skills, knowledge, and genuine passion in these subjects, equipping our students to engage successfully in a 21st Century society.
Promoting a nature of inquiry in our graduating students is a long term project and involves a range of programs across all our year groups. Extracurricular activities such as the Science and Engineering Day promotes STEM at our school, but it is in the regular classroom where there can be so much impact. The implementation of the National Science Curriculum (K-10) has been based on the resources and framework of inquiry learning with Science by Doing.
We are also running STEM programs as part of our regular teaching programs K-12. Watch this video to see how K-2 are incorporating technology into their day to day learning. Year 8 and 9 technology have just spent a day participating in Wollongong University’s Technology Roadshow. The aim of this is engage student interest in technology based subjects.
STEM is an exciting and changing area of education which taps directly into the future of our students. I look forward to seeing the benefits of William Carey’s involvement in STEM education in our students and how we will be utilising technology in the years to come.