t the end of 2015 two teachers from WPS were accepted into the
At the end of 2015 two teachers from WPS were accepted into the Victorian Government’s Primary Mathematics and Science Specialist program which runs for two years. This initiative enabled those two teachers to undertake training to become Mathematics and Science specialists at our school. The funding also allowed those teachers to spend time outside their classrooms to coach and mentor other teachers in the school, in particular around the implementation of a new Science program.
At WPS every year level studies Science using the Primary Connections program developed by the Australian Academy of Science. Over the course of a year students complete four units of work with each covering one of the four areas of Science - Biological sciences, Chemical sciences, Earth and Space sciences and Physical sciences. The units are very hands-on and are designed to give the students a deep understanding of scientific concepts through participating in engaging activities. The program also allows the students to acquire scientific skills and to develop their scientific literacy - an awareness of scientific endeavour as a way of thinking, questioning and reasoning about the world around them.
STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning is a fantastic way of encouraging students to think about real life problems and how they can solve them. When given a problem to work on students use knowledge gained in science, maths and technology lessons to design a solution, then work to engineer it using the available resources. STEM learning requires skills such as team work, problem-solving and perseverance as the students work through the process of testing and modifying their projects until they are satisfied with the results.
STEM days are held regularly throughout the year across the school and are designed to tie in with the concepts being taught in Science and Mathematics. During these days students are given a specific problem and are given a range of materials to use to build a solution. The students are asked to work in small groups and must try and solve the problem in a limited amount of time. The students have a fantastic time thinking about, building and refining their solutions and are often amazed at what they can achieve in a small amount of time.
Senior students can also elect to be part of a lunch time STEM club where they explore scientific concepts through experiments and use robotics kits to design machines for a specific purpose.