Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics become tools to help students connect with and help their communities when the partnerships redefining STEM at Sydney Catholic Schools bring learning to life.
In the rainforest-themed classroom at the Taronga Institute of Science & Learning, Jay Khera is discovering the differences between the habitat and animals of Australia and Sumatra. He and his Year 5 peers will see a tiger from the west-Indonesian island as part of their next zoo experience of the day.
It is a safari-style adventure with a mock plane trip to Sumatra and through bamboo-lined walkways to the tiger’s home enclosure. The flight’s captain reels off facts about the place and the deforestation caused by palm oil production before the students land.
Through the November excursion, Our Lady of the Annunciation (OLA) Catholic Primary School Pagewood students gained a tangible link to the content they have studied about the two islands as part of the primary Geography and Science curriculums.
“We learnt about a poisonous frog that lived in the Blue Mountains,” Jay said. “A lot of animals are endangered and Sumatra has a lot of different species.”
St Ursula’s College Kingsgrove have also worked with neighbour primary school Our Lady of Fatima to create a living, sustainable outdoor classroom.
Technology is an enabler. When we do coding, robotics or drone work, we’re on a pathway to somewhere else.
STEM projects students will complete this year also focus on designing solutions to problems and encourage students to work as a team, with empathy, and learn from their mistakes.