Weekly Roundup 1/9/17

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.