An introduction to STEM
In Tasmanian Government schools, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (shortened to ‘STEM‘) education is defined as a planned, intentional, interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning.
STEM approaches highlight connections between the learning areas of Science, Mathematics and Technologies (which can include engineering) and the broad capabilities and dispositions learners will need in a rapidly changing world.
Education has a moral imperative to prepare learners for an increasingly globalised world in which technology is dramatically altering the nature of work and daily life. In this complex environment, connecting knowledge and skills across discipline areas is vital.
 Interdisciplinary approaches to curriculum blend the content and key ideas from the respective subjects in the Australian Curriculum to address a problem or challenge. The areas are drawn upon in planning through a backward design process (e.g. Wiggins and McTighe, 2004)
How does it work?
While STEM is more than the sum of its parts, it’s important to understand those parts and the way they all connect.
STEM is an interdisciplinary approach to learning
Concepts from the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are coupled with real-world projects enabling students to develop STEM literacy.
ScienceThe F-10 Australian Curriculum: Science provides opportunities for students to develop an understanding of important science concepts and processes, the practices used to develop scientific knowledge, of science's contribution to our culture and society, and its applications in our lives. It provides an understanding of scientific inquiry methods, a foundation of knowledge across the disciplines of science, and develops an ability to communicate scientific understanding and use evidence to solve problems and make evidence-based decisions.
TechnologyThe Australian Curriculum: Technologies draws together the distinct but related subjects of Design and Technologies, and Digital Technologies. It ensures that all students benefit from learning about, and working with, traditional, contemporary and emerging technologies that shape the world in which we live. In creating solutions, as well as responding to the designed world, students will contribute to sustainable patterns of living for themselves and others.
EngineeringIn the Australian Curriculum Engineering is one of the four Contexts within Design and Technology subject. Engineering principles and systems is focused on how forces can be used to create light, sound, heat, movement, control or support in systems. Knowledge of these principles and systems enables the design and production of sustainable, engineered solutions.
MathematicsThe F-10 Australian Curriculum: Mathematics provides students with essential mathematical skills and knowledge in Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. It develops the numeracy capabilities that all students need in their personal, work and civic life, and provides the fundamentals on which mathematical specialties and professional applications of mathematics are built.
What is STEM?
This is a very common question that has some misconceptions around the meaning. While STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics the focus is on preparing children for an ever evolving workforce.
Parents and educators have a responsibility to prepare children for the workforce they will be heading into. Teaching them how to use the latest technology and problem solving skills gives them the best chance to succeed.