The Hills Grammar School is an independent K-12 school in Kenthurst, North-West Sydney. Pahia Cooper recently sat down to chat with teacher, Kim, to learn more about how she uses the Day of STEM programs in her classroom. Here are her 5 top tips for teachers.
Pahia: Kim, can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
Kim: I am the Careers and Tertiary Awareness Co-ordinator at Hills Grammar. I am always on the lookout for suitable activities to enhance our student enrichment days. We have used the Day of STEM programs at our school and I am a big advocate as they bring an alternative STEM experience into the classroom.
1. Practice Day of STEM as a student
Last year, some of my colleagues and myself ran the Collingwood STEM Cup program as part of the School’s enrichment program. It was successful so we will be running it again this year. In preparation for this year, I have explored the platform and discovered the ‘Student Mode’ button so I could “become the student” and run through the program ahead of time. I recommend other teachers take the time to work through the program, as I was able to better understand what the students would be doing, learn how to adapt it for my class and prep before the lesson.
2. Make it your own
Day of STEM programs are essentially plug and play activities with students able to work at their own pace. My experience with the Collingwood STEM Cup and after discussions with my colleagues who also ran the Australian 2020 program, this year I will taking a different approach. This year I will be trialling the Women in STEM program. I’m planning to watch and discuss the Women in STEM mentor videos as a class and then students will complete the Q&A with their favourite mentor on their own. I like to I think this will increase the richness of the experience.
3. Encourage students to get head start with a personal work profile
During each of the Day of STEM programs, students gain a unique Holland Code via a work-personality test. For some students, especially Years 7- 9, this may be their first personality profile. It’s an interesting insight for students to understand how they approach things, how their mind works and it benefits teachers to see why some students may be struggling. You may want to run the Myers Briggs Personality test or other such assessments and compare the results.
4. Engaging students with Maths through Sport
Primarily we have focused on using Day of STEM in our Technology classes. We are now looking to engage Science and Mathematics. In reference to the Collingwood STEM Cup and the new Rabbitohs’ STEM Cup, there are many curriculum-related concepts, which cross over easily into the mathematics area. Students are challenged to set salaries for the Collingwood Football team abiding by the AFL salary cap guidelines. They analyse player statistics and balance the budget while creating the best team. The accompanied lesson plans provided in both of these programs will greatly assist new teachers to the program.
5. Emphasise the value of mentoring
I will be using the Women in STEM program this year with Year 10 & 11 students. Most students are unaware of the range of STEM careers so access to STEM mentors is invaluable. Who even knew there was a job as a “Data Cloud Analyst”? The Women in STEM mentor videos are really well done. They introduce leading STEM professionals who explain their roles, salaries and career journeys including study and work experience. Students then choose which mentor best matches their interest and find out more about them. There are new STEM jobs available all the time, so students need to stay open to new opportunities and stay informed.
The “take away” thing I have found with the Day of STEM program is that it provides opportunities for the students to gain awareness of the diverse range of opportunities in STEM careers.
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