BenniesBuzz-NOV2015 - page 9

STEM Education is about teaching the subject disciplines of
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in an integrated
way so that the skills students learn are shown to be transferrable
between disciplines and contexts, and relevant to real-world
problems. It is important that students have the opportunity to
engage in STEM-based activities and are able to consider STEM
occupations as possible career paths.
MSB is committed to promoting an integrated STEM education for
its students. Being an all-girls school, the College is aware of the
need to challenge gender-based career stereotypes and also to
address gender inequality in STEM related careers. Staff at MSB
are working to develop several STEM projects for the future.
The projects aim to create relevant and authentic connections
between mathematical, scientific and technological skills,
with the goal of achieving greater interest, application of skills
and ultimately greater uptake of STEM subjects in the senior
years. These projects will prepare students for the jobs of
tomorrow, through: critical thinking, creativity, teamwork and
communication. Students will be participating in activities that
model real-world challenges and are thus learning to engage with
the world in a way that is both constructive and authentic.
In August, MSB held a pilot STEM challenge day for two
Year 8 classes. The context for the challenge was the field of
bioengineering, specifically remote surgery - controlling a
medical device from a remote location that could perform surgery
such as a heart or kidney transplant. Students worked in teams
of six to design and make a device that could carefully pick up a
“heart” (tennis ball) and “kidney” (ping pong ball) from a distance
of 1.1 metres and accurately locate them on a given target. The
materials budget was limited and students had to “buy” materials
and hire equipment from the “shop”.
The highlight of the day was the testing of devices. Each teams’
surgeon was given one minute to perform the surgery, behind a
screen with only a view of the surgery from real-time video footage.
When surveyed at the start of the day, many students rated their
engineering skills as limited or non-existent. However, throughout
the day the girls proved to themselves that they were more than
capable of meeting the challenge, with several groups in close
contention to take out the top prize.
Following this pilot STEM challenge, MSB intends to run challenge
days for all Year 8 students in 2015. For 2016, teachers are
developing an integrated Mathematics, Science and TAS unit,
as well as running an afternoon co-curricular STEM club. The
College is also keen to make connections with STEM industries and
professionals and to undertake authentic local community projects.
STEM Education
Preparing girls for the careers of tomorrow
November 2015
Bennies Buzz
| 9
• Australia’s economic future depends on STEM. A decline
in traditional manufacturing and an increase in advanced
manufacturing require a highly skilled workforce and a
focus on a knowledge economy.
• STEM skill jobs have the fastest growing rate in the
economy. 75% of the fastest growing occupations require
STEM-literate skills and STEM industries represent
65% of economic growth per capita, yet only 18% of the
workforce have STEM qualifications.
Surgeons
testing their devices
The winning team
Designers at work
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,...24
Powered by FlippingBook