How do we get school students to engage with science, technology, engineering and mathematics – otherwise known as STEM?
A program run by the Academy across Australia and in the region has proven to be a winner when it comes to raising low participation rates.
STELR (Science and Technology Education Leveraging Relevance) works by tapping into the high level of concern that most students have about global warming, climate change and sustainability.
Highly qualified staff develop subjects teaching modules relating to these topics for students from Year 5 to Year 10.
Students learn about heat transfer by convection, conduction and radiation and the thermal properties of matter by building a miniature sustainable house.
In other modules, they can build wind turbines or solar installations while learning about electric circuits and energy transfer and transformation.
STELR modules include equipment, curriculum resources for teachers and students and teacher support. Teacher professional learning sessions are provided as well as on-line and telephone support.
The project was established by Dr Alan Finkel AO FTSE, now Chief Scientist of Australia.
STELR is currently running in more than 700 schools in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, with more than 100,000 students and 1500 teachers involved each year.