Brighton Primary School has an integrated approach to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) where students connect with industry professionals to solve a real-world problem. Since its inception in 2018, students from foundation to year 7 have been involved in a number a problem based learning (PBL) initiatives in partnership with professionals from local council to national construction companies.
‘STEM and PBL focuses on preparing students for life after school. In order for students to be ready to solve the complex challenges and problems that exist in our world, they have to have had the opportunity to practice doing so. This is true whether students pursue a career in a STEM field, the arts, or in the humanities. Requiring students to engage with rigorous problems that have not been contrived for the sake of arriving at one correct answer is key in building their capacity to think critically and problems solve out in the real world.’ Kelsey Bednar
One of the significant advantages of STEM PBL is the increased engagement in the STEM disciplines as well as the students directed learning that takes place during the process. Students are driven to find answers as they go about solving a problem for an industry professional giving rise to an authentic application for their learning at school. With this self-efficacy and confidence students challenge themselves and each other for greater understanding and have the opportunity to show their knowledge in a way which suits them.
In order to solve complex, multifaceted problems students are supported by a common Engineering Design Process. Explicitly taught in the younger years this becomes the scaffolding for all problem solving and has strong links to Numeracy skill development. This is consistent across the school and is seen in every classroom.