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So what is STEM?

STEM is an educational approach to our teaching and learning framework.  It is a term that integrates the important subject areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  It is a learning approach to curriculum that aims to not only engage students in subject content knowledge, but also links specific skills and capabilities to enable content application within authentic, real life issues.  In accordance with the National STEM School Education Strategy (2016-2026), “A RENEWED NATIONAL FOCUS ON STEM IN SCHOOL EDUCATION IS CRITICAL TO ENSURING THAT ALL YOUNG AUSTRALIANS ARE EQUIPPED WITH THE NECESSARY STEM SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE THAT THEY WILL NEED TO SUCCEED.”


Why is STEM valued at St Peter’s

Aligning with our National imperative to ensure that all students finish school with strong foundational knowledge in STEM and related skills, here at St. Peter’s Primary school, the staff have collaborated together to refresh our existing STEM program.  The school leaders, teaching staff and specialist teaching teams have developed a highly effective STEM teaching and learning framework that aims to address the Victorian Curriculum, with a priority focus on Literacy, the Sciences, the Technologies which includes designing and constructing (Engineering) as well as the Numeracy strands.

We believe that a STEM approach to teaching and learning will increase student motivation to learn about real world issues that they can relate to in a relevant and meaningful way.  This enables positive impacts on students' attitudes to their learning.

The students really look forward to their STEM education; there is a buzz in the learning spaces, a heart beat of excitement, a real anticipation to experiment, problem solve, critically think, test, make and create!


How will STEM be integrated into the Victorian Curriculum at St Peter’s

All students will participate in an 80 minute STEM class each week facilitated by a specialist STEM teaching team.  These explicitly designed STEM classes will be planned for, in collaboration with the curriculum leaders and teaching teams to coordinate STEM projects, investigations and challenges in a purposeful way.  We believe that deeper learning can occur when a cross-disciplinary approach is adopted that exposes students to a range of skills.  These skills and dispositions have been obtained from the General Capability outcomes within the Victorian Curriculum. A STEM approach to learning and teaching can provide students with the chance to develop their critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration; vital skills for their future within this 21st century.

Inquiry-based concepts developed within Faith and Life here at St. Peter’s Primary school is where students are encouraged to build on their empathy, curiosity, understanding, questioning and ability to take action. 

The LAUNCH design thinking cycle is implemented within our inquiry concepts.  It is a student friendly model that enhances the STEM approach to learning and teaching.  Here is the LAUNCH acronym explained by the author, John Spencer:

L: Look, Listen, and Learn

In the first phase, students look, listen, and learn. The goal here is awareness. It might be a sense of wonder at a process or an awareness of a problem or a sense of empathy toward an audience.

A: Ask Tons of Questions

Sparked by curiosity, students move to the second phase, where they ask tons of questions.

U: Understanding the Process or Problem

This leads to understanding the process or problem through an authentic research experience. They might conduct interviews or needs assessments, research articles, watch videos, or analyze data.


N: Navigate Ideas

Students apply that newly acquired knowledge to potential solutions. In this phase, they navigate ideas. Here they not only brainstorm, but they also analyze ideas, combine ideas, and generate a concept for what they will create.


C: Create a Prototype

In this next phase, they create a prototype. It might be a digital work or a tangible product, a work of art or something they engineer. It might even be an action or an event or a system.


H: Highlight and Fix

Next, they begin to highlight what’s working and fix what’s failing. The goal here is to view this revision process as an experiment full of iterations, where every mistake takes them closer to success.


Launch to an Audience 

Then, when it’s done, it’s ready to launch. In the launch phase, they send it to an authentic audience. They share their work with the world!

As a result of this design thinking process the students are able to gain a rich and thorough understanding of the subject content knowledge and skills within real world application, which will represent the development of their many Faith and Life concepts throughout their seven years of Inquiry Learning here at St. Peter’s.


Our Catholic Calling: Making a Difference

Melbourne Catholic Primary Schools are going M.A.D (Making A Difference) for learning!  STEM education encourages students to ‘design a product, service or innovation that makes a difference to others or the environment. STEM aims to address real-world problems and demonstrate how students in Catholic schools take action that matters.’ (Catholic Education of Melbourne).

Here at St. Peter’s, our Catholic calling to act for justice for the common good, to work towards stewardship to heal and protect our environment, and to act towards solidarity is met within our Faith and Life concepts.

School Resources

St. Peter’s is fortunately well resourced when it comes to STEM education.  The students have the opportunity to explore and experiment, in particular within Digital Technologies. The school is well equipped with 3D printers, a green screen and sound recording room, several Robotics that develop coding skills, as well as many construction resources and tools such as Lego Kits.  The school has a fantastic, dedicated science learning space with microscopes and other experiment apparatus.  We are so very lucky to have sewing machines and a wonderful Arts program to encourage creativity making and design.  

We are also extremely blessed to have a blossoming garden with chicken coop.  The students utilise fresh produce within our Stephanie Alexander Kitchen.


By implementing the many specific STEM resources within the students’ learning, they can develop a deeper knowledge of how to use digital solutions, as well as develop an understanding on the processes associated with being a creator of digital technologies, so that they can take up an active role in addressing current and future needs, as local and global citizens.

STEM in Action

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