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Collaborative schools creating STEM events

Written by Ben Newsome on September 7th, 2016.      0 comments

Collegiate schools working together in STEM
Collaborative schools creating STEM events

Today the Peninsula Community of Schools on the Sydney's northern beaches ran an awesome STEM day at Narrabeen Sports High School as part of National Science Week celebrations. What a great example of a collaborative effort that brings together both primary and high school students! Comprising of 10 primary schools and 3 high schools with guidance from Macquarie University and Brookvale TAFE, the STEM project had attracted a number of awards and after seeing the enthusiasm of the students I could certainly see why!

Building on this year's theme of 'drones droids & robots', selected students from each primary school created posters and robotic displays & interactive STEM elements throughout the school hall where visitors could come along to learn more about how science & technology work together in applied engineering & mathematics environments. The excitement was clearly evident, as was the time and effort that both the students and teachers had put in.

Scribblebots at Peninsula Community of Schools
Scribblebots made with pool noodles!

Variety of powered cars by Bilgola Public School

Variety of powered cars by Bilgola Public School

Robotics explaining agricultural challenges by Pittwater High
Robotics explaining agricultural challenges by Pittwater High school 

Whilst the students headed outside to participate in a kite challenge I was able to spend some time checking out the posters the students had put together. The students had done a great job in communicating scientific principles in an easy to read format (a very useful skill if they ever have to do poster presentations at University or beyond!). I particularly liked how the students would highlight their challenges and how they worked to solve them.

What makes a boat float poster
What makes a boat float?

Student poster showing problems they faced and how they fixed it
Student poster showing problems they faced and how they fixed them

These events are the sorts of things that students remember after they leave school. Collaborative and problem solving skills are not the only highly prized skills in industry, taking the students into environments where they have to communicate their thought processes verbally and via interpretative signage challenges them to distill their thoughts coherently as well as give them chance to exercise their public presentation skills as well. 
Barrenjoey HS Avalon PS Narrabeen North PS
Pittwater HS Bigola Plateau PS Naarrabeen Lakes PS
Narrabeen Sports HS Newport PS Collaroy Plateau PS
  Mona Vale PS Wheeler Heights PS
  Elanora Heights PS Cromer PS

Participating schools in the Peninsula Community of Schools

The Peninsula Community of Schools is not the only collaborative groups of schools I've come across either. You can find collegiate schools in the Snowy Mountains, in outback QLD, regional Victoria and more. If your school is not yet involved in a similar project I encourage you to reach out in across your network to establish one yourself! Yes, it does take a few meetings to align competing ideas and timetables but the student outcome as well as the community atmosphere created is certainly worth the effort.

STEM days are simply fun, in this case I was invited along to present a science stage show called tick tick BOOM! which is always a crowdpleaser. If you're involved in a community of schools working together, put a link to your collaboration in the comments below so other teachers can check out what you're up to!

Happy teaching,


Ben Newsome
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