Month: September 2017

September 22, 2017


Your weekly (well, OK, this time it’s fortnightly) roundup today contains information about the upcoming STEM Education Conference. We also cover some other local news, the OECD education report, and some fun news about maths.


Local Happenings

STEM Education Conference

Some interesting news close to home came out in recent weeks. Firstly, the STEM Learning Project will be just one of many educational providers presenting at MAWA’s STEM Education Conference next week. Education HQ interviewed Rachael Whitney-Smith to learn more. If the line-up appeals to you, it’s not too late to book!

Next, WA’s own East Waikiki Primary School is one of the lucky 100 Australian schools selected for a STEM program running in 2018, reports The West. The initiative focusses on STEM in the early years through the use of play-based apps.

The Telegraph reports on why and how we need to get our kids re-engaged into STEM subjects. And lastly, two more pieces from The Australian highlight the need for STEM skills as we move forward into a changing future. First, there’s the problem of ageing oil rigs. Secondly, there’s this opinion piece about how to ensure Australia remains globabally competitive: problem solving, critical thinking and communication are the keys.

STEM Learning Project workshops are hitting the spot

professional learning

The STEM Learning Project is getting popular! We have now locked in all our professional learning workshops for the rest of this year, and we’re starting to book for next year. Fear not, there’s still room to book into this year’s sessions. Click here to find out about them. If you’re interested in organising a session for next year for your network, contact us.


OECD Education Findings

The OECD published its education findings for 2017 recently. As you might expect, this has caused a stir among online commentators. DW writes on the continuing gender disparities in many subjects, including STEM, while Toronto Metro News comments on the need to funnel students into Engineering and IT, where employment prospects are greatest. Meanwhile, WA Today online published an article on the decline in STEM graduates from Australian universities, despite the growing demand for graduates with these skills.



A Model Maths Student?

Teacher Magazine published several interesting pieces about mathematics over the past couple of weeks. There’s this fantastic read all about mathematical modelling problems in a real-world context. (And here are some example problems for you to use with your class – or try yourself!). There’s also a report about research on what influences participation in maths. There were six main factors which impacted student’s decisions about whether to take maths subjects. Read more here.


That’s all for this week. Have a great long weekend!

-The SLP Team







September 1, 2017

Happy spring everyone! Since it’s the first STEM education roundup of the new season, we’re focussing on new growth. There’s new school initiatives, new fields of science, and STEM early learning. I’m also going to be making a lot of unapologetic spring puns – ye be warned!

STEM early learning
Springing into STEM: For best results, start early.

A spring in the step of WA STEM

First up, 200 WA primary schools are set to receive new STEM facilities over the next four years. In this exciting initiative, regular classrooms will be upgraded to science labs. Schools will also receive funds to purchase equipment. If your school is eligible, you can put in an expression of interest now. Find the form and some more information here.

The Aurecon Bridge Building Competition for 2017 recently took place at Scitech in City West. Baldivis Secondary College students took home the overall prize. Even if you missed the action this year, you can always have a go next year. Just keep an eye on the Aurecon website for info about next year’s competition!

STEM for spring chickens

STEM early learning
Spring chickens getting on top of STEM. CC BY 2.0 by Kabsik Park

In WA, iSTEM is one of a number of initiatives that are part of a push for early childhood STEM education. Several scientists and researchers in Perth are running the project. For more on this, check out ECU’s article on the recent STEM Innovation Expo.

Continuing the theme of STEM in early childhood, we have this piece from The Conversation. It focuses on the use of makers spaces for students as young as year one. Children learned not only STEM skills, but also resilience and perseverance.

Then there’s this heartwarming testimonial. It’s the story of one school using STEM to pull their community out of poverty. STEM education starts in pre-kindergarten, with children doing engineering tasks built around familiar stories and learning the foundations of coding.

Lessons from the past a springboard into the future

Standing on the shoulders of STEM giants: in this section we look at how hard-won knowledge from the past can help the next generation spring into the future. Former NASA astronaut writes about the importance of STEM education for the future of exploration. Meghan Groome reflects on the benefits of two decades worth of STEM education in the US.

And now that we’re in the “age of data”, we need a new field of science. Fortunately, technology expert Genevieve Bell is planning to give us just that. Bell was formerly the leading researcher at Intel on the way people interact with technology. Now she’s at the Australian National University and has big plans for what’s ahead.