What is STEM?
The term STEM is used to describe science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
- Science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
- Technology is the collection of techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services. It’s the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.
- Engineering is the branch of science and technology concerned with the design, building, and use of engines, machines, and structures.
- Mathematics is the science that deals with the logic of shape, quantity and arrangement. Maths is all around us, in everything we do. It is the building block for everything in our daily lives.
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating pupils in the four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.
What is the purpose of STEM Education?
The purpose of STEM education is to develop STEM Literacy – an ability to engage with understanding in modern debates and scientific and technological developments and their implications.
STEM is a means of offering coherent learning experiences that make connections between the individual curriculum subjects explicit and enhance learning in all of them.
e.g. Picture an architect, they use science, math, engineering and technology to do their jobs.
The subjects do not work on their own, instead they are woven together in practical and seamless ways allowing the architect to design complex buildings.
Simply put, STEM reflects real life.
How do we engage and interest our children STEM?
STEM aligns so much with the way children’s minds learn and work from a very early age and the best way to foster a love of STEM is to encourage curiosity.
From a young age encourage children to question, to explore and to play. This can at times be lost as children move through Key Stage 1 and 2, with the pressure of curriculum coverage and statutory assessments.
Through our STEM provision, we strive to ensure every child has the opportunity to explore, play and problem solve through an integrated, cross-curricular approach.
Embedding STEM within our Curriculum Framework
At Bollin we are committed to embedding STEM opportunities within our curriculum framework.
Our three-year STEM plan (2019 - 2022) outlines how we plan to develop and embed our STEM provision including:
- Lego Education projects in all year groups
- Establishing a STEM Club
- STEM themed days
- Review the discrete teaching of STEM subjects and look for further opportunities to teach through a more integrated approach
- Identifying further opportunities to incorporate STEM within curriculum plans in all curriculum areas
- Identifying further opportunities to embed STEM within EYFS curriculum provision
- Entering local / national STEM competitions
- Inviting STEM Ambassadors and STEM professionals into our school to talk, to and work with, the children
At Bollin, we have invested in Lego Education as their educational resources provide engaging, hands-on experiences our children need to explore core STEM concepts and link them to real-life phenomena.
- With LEGO our children:
- Learn to investigate problems and find possible solutions
- Build collaboration and communication skills as they share their learning processes with their peers
- Learn to see failure as a form of information gathering
- Develop an understanding of how parts work together to create a whole
- Experience ‘hands-on, minds-on’ tactile educational tasks
Lego WeDo engages and motivates our children’s interest in learning science and engineering related subjects. Through the use of motorised LEGO models and simple programming, WeDo supports a hands-on, “minds on” learning solution that gives our children the confidence to ask questions, and the tools to find answers and solve real-life problems.
Children learn by asking questions and solving problems. WeDo does not tell children everything they need to know, instead it makes them question what they know and explore what they do not yet understand.
WeDo uses a project progression defined by three phases:
- EXPLORE - Children connect to a scientific question or an engineering problem, establish a line of enquiry, and consider possible solutions. The steps of the Explore phase are: connect and discuss.
- CREATE - Children build, program, and modify a LEGO model. Projects can be one of three types: investigate, design solutions, and use models. Depending on the type of project, the Create phase will differ from one project to another. The steps of the Create phase are: build, program, and modify.
- SHARE - Children present and explain their solutions and findings using their LEGO models and the documents they have created with the integrated Documentation tool. The steps of the Share phase are: document and present.
Through WeDo, children develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding, as well as practical skills. Elements of the National Curriculum for Computing, Geography and Design & Technology are interwoven throughout.