(Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths)
What is the purpose of STEM?
The purpose of STEM education is to develop STEM Literacy – an ability to engage with understanding in modern debates and scientific and technological developments and their implications.
STEM is a means of offering coherent learning experiences that make connections between the individual curriculum subjects explicit and enhance learning in all of them. E.g. Picture an architect, they use science, maths, engineering and technology to do their jobs. The subjects do not work on their own, instead they are woven together in practical and seamless ways allowing the architect to design complex buildings.
Simply put, STEM reflects real life.
What is STEM?
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating pupils in the four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.
Science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
Technology is the collection of techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services. It’s the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.
Engineering is the branch of science and technology concerned with the design, building, and use of engines, machines, and structures.
Mathematics is the science that deals with the logic of shape, quantity and arrangement. Maths is all around us, in everything we do. It is the building block for everything in our daily lives.
Our STEM Den is full of 'engine-uity'
All children at Nantwich Primary Academy have the opportunity to explore the Engineering Habits of Mind in our dedicated space - "The STEM Den"
Within our STEM Den, there are a variety of stations with activities linked to the various skills we aspire for the children to acquire and develop as young engineers.
Our STEM Den is located directly across the hallway from our Code Lab, where we have a room of desktop computers and iPads that can support the technological aspect of STEM.
Additionally, we have our own kitchen environment and can incorporate art more easily into STEM using our wonderful art bay, turning STEM into STEAM.
How do we engage and interest our children in STEM?
STEM aligns so much with the way children’s minds learn and work from a very early age and the best way to foster a love of STEM is to encourage curiosity. At Nantwich Primary Academy we aim to foster inquiring minds, logical reasoning, and collaboration to prepare them for a world where skills in science, technology, engineering and maths are increasingly important.
We provide a wealth of opportunities for pupils to engage in practical investigation making links between science, maths, technology and developing engineering skills. This helps to encourage critical and creative thinking and makes the acquisition of knowledge and skills relevant and interesting.
Through our STEM provision, we strive to ensure every child has the opportunity to explore, play and problem solve through an integrated, cross-curricular approach.
As a school we try to integrate the STEM subjects, encouraging children to think independently and find solutions to problems. We follow the maths mastery approach, allowing pupils to develop mathematical fluency solving problems by reasoning rather than resorting to rote learning and memorising procedures. In science, pupils study a varied curriculum and learn to develop their practical investigative skills by making predictions, planning and carrying out experiments; selecting and using appropriate materials; calibrating accurately; observing and recording methodically; communicating discoveries and critically evaluating their results. Children consider issues which affect their own lives, and the lives of others.
We also have a STEM DEN in school which is great for children to go and investigate different STEM activities. This area is solely designed for children to experience STEM and have the opportunity to find out more about the 4 specific disciplines.
Embedding STEM within our Curriculum Framework
At Nantwich Primary Academy we are committed to embedding STEM opportunities within our curriculum framework.
Our three-year STEM plan (2021 - 2024) outlines how we plan to develop and embed our STEM provision including:
Lego Education projects in all year groups
Establishing a STEM Club
STEM themed days
Review the discrete teaching of STEM subjects and look for further opportunities to teach through a more integrated approach
Identifying further opportunities to incorporate STEM within curriculum plans in all curriculum areas
Identifying further opportunities to embed STEM within EYFS curriculum provision
Entering local / national STEM competitions
Inviting STEM Ambassadors and STEM professionals into our school to talk, to and work with, the children