Thursday, 23 July 2015


What is STEM?

Science ,Technology, Engineering and Maths

Why teach STEM?

Every country in the world is reforming their education system at the current time. Why? Well we are told it is because we are not preparing students with the skills and attributes they need for the future. Many jobs in the future will depend on students have a really good basis in STEM.

“Science and technology are at the heart of every major challenge we face: rebuilding transport systems in major town and cities, climate change, space exploration,creating a healthy economy. Yet every year the number of Graduates in STEM decreases in New Zealand”

Our government has created a new initiative called Curious Minds. “A Nation of Curious Minds is the blueprint for the Science in Society project. In July 2014, the Minister of Science and Innovation, Hon Steven Joyce, and the Minister of Education, Hon Hekia Parata, launched A Nation of Curious Minds, the Government’s plan to encourage and enable better engagement with science and technology across New Zealand society.

The plan, A Nation of Curious Minds – He Whenua Hihiri i te Mahara, recognises the important role scientific knowledge and innovation play in our lives and in creating and defining New Zealand’s future, economically, socially and environmentally.”

Through the MOA Kluster we have been developing exciting new partnerships and focus, for some months. We have been developing a STEM focus.We are still at the beginning of our journey. We had a combined meeting with the BOT from the four schools and we have agreed that this is a direction that is important for our students and their future.

So What Are We Doing About It?

Maths: Each school has designated a lead teacher to review our direction for 2016. These teachers will be working cross school to explore what is working well and what we need to improve. Having a cross cluster focus adds strength to this review. These teachers will also be exploring different ways to teach maths to help our students to become “maths problem solvers”

Science: The schools are working alongside one another to share professional development. We are currently building working partnerships both in New Zealand and overseas to strengthen our knowledge and skills in this area. Science and maths will be a major focus for our schools in 2016.

So What About Engineering? Do You Actually Do That At Primary School?

The short answer is YES.
If you’ve ever watched children at play, you know they’re fascinated with building things—and with taking things apart to see how they work. In other words, children are natural-born engineers. When children engineer in a school setting, research suggests several positive results:

Building Science and Math Skills

Engineering calls for children to apply what they know about science and math—and their learning is enhanced as a result. At the same time, because engineering activities are based on real-world technologies and problems, they help children see how disciplines like math and science are relevant to their lives.

Classroom Equity

Research suggests engineering activities help build classroom equity. The engineering design process removes the stigma from failure; instead, failure is an important part of the problem-solving process and a positive way to learn. Equally important, in engineering there’s no single “right” answer; one problem can have many solutions. When classroom instruction includes engineering, all students can see themselves as successful.

21st Century Skills

Hands-on, project-based learning is the essence of engineering. As groups of students work together to answer questions like “How large should I make the canopy of this parachute?” or “What material should I use for the blades of my windmill?” they collaborate, think critically and creatively, and communicate with one another.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Student Posting in the Holidays: Auroa Primary School

Bethanys Blog: Visiting Sky Tower
These students from Auroa Primary School are all in the Y5/6 Room Three Class.  They have individual student blogs and have all chosen to post in their own time during the school holidays:

Bethany's been on holiday in Auckland and visited the iconic Auckland Sky Tower.  You can see her standing on a sheet of glass on this fantastic post on her wonderful blog by clicking here.

Caros Blog: Mount Taranaki
Caro has been in the snow on Mount Taranaki - you can read about the details of the experience that she's had by clicking on her fantastic blog here.  

Katelyn has been in Rotorua having some fantastic adventures on her holidays.  If you would like to find out all about what she has been up to and read her fantastic recount about her adventures you can click on the link here.

In each instance the students have been writing about the events that have occurred, and written recounts detailing the events and taken time to include details and links (such as hyper linking to links with more details).   Its provided motivated learners and opportunity to connect with an authentic audience.  The students concerned have had a combined total of 15,000 page views.