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High school teachers program

Inspire a generation through STEM
Focused on themes embedded in the F-10 curriculum, our program is facilitated by the University’s leading academic specialists.
Two teachers in discussion in a lecture

"It was really helpful to have a mentor that comes back and then works with your whole faculty. It helps get a lot of teachers on board and inspired to do it." - 2014 participant

The high school teachers program will enhance teachers’ knowledge of content and pedagogy, and inspire them to pursue and expand their own interests in STEM. In particular, the Academy will:

  • introduce and support exciting and effective approaches to learning, enhance teachers’ knowledge of content and approaches to teaching mathematics, science and digital technologies in Years 7–10 of the Australian Curriculum for NSW
  • develop a community of practice for participating STEM teachers, with ongoing support and engagement through mentoring, online forums, newsletters, seminars and events
  • develop teachers’ knowledge of STEM-related research and industry as well as knowledge of STEM programs at university and career pathways.

Program structure

The program comprises face-to-face sessions, providing guidance on planning and implementing STEM strategies. In-between these sessions, experienced mentors support school teams as they design integrated STEM tasks, lessons and units of work.

The secondary program includes sessions on the separate STEM subjects as well as sessions on integrated STEM approaches.

Mentoring

Throughout the academy, experienced mentors work with participating teachers, providing support and assistance to plan and implement their own STEM strategies in the classroom.

Three-day workshop

The first STEM Academy session is a three-day workshop, when participants develop a draft plan for implementation of STEM strategies within and across disciplines.

Funding

Your school will receive funding for up to six teaching staff to cover teacher relief, for you to attend the session.

Mentors visits to schools

Our mentors will meet participants between the face-to-face sessions to assist with designing integrated STEM tasks, lessons and units of work.

Depending on teachers’ needs, the mentors may facilitate whole group meetings, team teach, observe lessons, or assist with data collection.

During the face-to-face sessions, participants will report on the outcomes of implementing STEM approaches in their schools and plan next steps.

Key learning areas

The professional learning approach and the resources used in this course focus on the development of students’ scientific literacy. This approach helps students use their understanding of scientific concepts and abilities in working scientifically to make evidence-based decisions. Teachers participating in this professional development will have the opportunity to consider techniques and strategies to develop and assess their students' development of scientific literacy.

Participating teachers will have time to consider how to adapt or extend first or second-hand investigations to support the development of their students' argumentation skills. By the end of the session, teachers should be able to modify and use existing resources and learning experiences in the classrooms.

The professional learning approach and the resources used in this course focus on the use of challenging mathematics tasks. This approach helps students build problem-solving and reasoning skills as well as resilience, and a growth mindset. Teachers will learn about designing challenging tasks, structuring lessons to cater for the diverse range of students in Years 9 and 10, and developing appropriate classroom practices.

Problem solving is one of the four proficiencies of the Australian Curriculum and a key process in learning to use and apply mathematics in a range of contexts. Problem solving is best implemented by using challenging tasks which are designed to match the content of the curriculum, promote problem solving and reasoning, and engage students by enabling access. For each task, enabling prompts assist those who require additional support and extending prompts provide extension and enrichment for further challenge. Introducing challenging tasks into mathematics lessons requires a new lesson structure and new ways for teachers and students to work together, including a classroom culture that fosters discussion.

This course will focus on students developing computational thinking and problem-solving skills, with an emphasis on analysing and creating to solve challenging real-world information problems. Teachers will develop (or extend) their skills and confidence in teaching computer programming using the embedded platform Arduino and its open-source programming environment. The platform provides an ideal context to explore the connections between programming, science and mathematics. In addition to programming, we will workshop other activities (and other approaches to automation) that encourage a computational thinking disposition.

With the core computational skills in place, teachers will have the expertise and confidence to support students as they solve problems that engage and inspire them across a range of human endeavours, such as art, music, science, mathematics and technology. Teachers will explore a range of project ideas before beginning the process of developing their own sample projects that are suitable for individual or group work in Year 7 to 10 IST, and across the STEM learning areas.

STEM Academy has provided the framework and support to achieve our goals.
Julianne Stanton, science teacher (Ravenswood High School)
The ongoing support from the STEM Academy provided our school with feedback and new ideas to explore.
Jennifer Holt, TAS Coordinator (Kildare Catholic College)