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S.T.E.M Policy 2020 – 2021

Introduction

At St. Colman’s National School we are aiming to introduce our STEM curriculum through Imaginative Learning Projects which will provide a rich menu of exciting and motivating learning activities, embedded in a language rich environment that promotes a culture of communication, collaboration and sharing.

We believe children learn better when they are encouraged to use their imagination and apply their learning to engaging contexts. Our curriculum will provide lots of learning challenges throughout the academic year that will require children to solve problems, apply themselves creatively and express their knowledge and understanding effectively across the curriculum.

At present we are implementing STEM gradually across the varying class levels.

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Mission Statement

As well as being an important educational resource, the ability to use STEM effectively is a vital life skill in modern society.  Our aim is to produce learners (pupils and staff) who are confident and effective users of STEM . We strive to achieve this aim by:

  • Helping all staff and pupils to explore the learning resources provided by STEM
  • Helping all children to use STEM with purpose and enjoyment
  • Helping all children to develop the necessary skills to exploit STEM
  • Helping teachers to become facilitators of STEM
  • Helping all children to evaluate the benefits of STEM and its impact on their learning.
  • Using STEM to develop partnerships beyond the school
  • Celebrating success in the use of STEM.

Rationale

STEM in teaching and learning across the curriculum is a new challenge which we feel must be met in Primary Education. We aim to develop skills in our pupils to enable them to live and work in an ever-changing world. We, as teachers, recognise the potential of STEM as a cross-curricular resource at primary level. In line with the general educational philosophies of the school, the mode of instruction will attempt to generate in the children, a sense of fulfilment, while experiencing the benefits of STEM to facilitate creative expression and academic achievement. This should indicate our positive endorsement of the benefits of multimedia educational strategies.

  • To provide the best possible education for all our pupils
  • To provide a powerful and up to date teaching resource for all our teachers
  • To allow for more effective administration
  • To help provide more effective communication with staff and parents
  • To communicate with teachers and pupils in Ireland and further afield
  • To prepare children for STEM related activities.
  • To use computers as tools to enhance further learning
  • To facilitate cross-curricular learning
  • To promote imagination and creativity.
  • To motivate children to collect, enter and interpret data.
  • To encourage children to communicate and collaborate effectively.
  • To generate cross-cultural and international links through the use of  e-mail
  • To develop co-operative skills through participation in STEM projects that demand the pooling of skills and interactive development of ideas and material.
  • All children from Junior Infants to 6th will, where possible, have regular access

Embedding

2018-19 – 5th/6th

2019-20 4th/5th/6th

2020-21 -3rd/4th/5th/6th

2021-22 2nd/3rd/4th/5th/6th

2022-23 1st/2nd/3rd/4th/5th/6th

2023-24 – Senior Inf/1st/2nd/3rd/4th/5th/6th

2024-25 – Junior & Senior Inf/ 1st/2nd/3rd/4th/5th/6th

2025-26 – Whole School Implementation and review.

Each STEAM based project has four elements:

Engage – hook children in with a memorable experience, a trip, visit or discovery.

Develop – allow children time to gather the skills and knowledge they need  through quality first teaching to develop a deep understanding.

Innovate – offer creative experiences that allow children to apply their skills, knowledge and understanding.

Express – provide the space and time for reflecting, evaluating, and celebrating learning with parents

STEM learning opportunities will be enriched and supported by specialist teachers from our locality, Engineers Week, Heritage Schools, PDST and by working collaboratively to ensure that we deliver

 

Our vision for STEM education:

In line with our ambition to have the best education and training service in Europe by 2026, Ireland will be internationally recognised as providing the highest quality STEM education experience for learners that nurtures curiosity, inquiry, problem-solving, creativity, ethical behaviour, confidence, and persistence, along with the excitement of collaborative innovation.

This vision, to be realised through a programme of reform in our education system, is driven by a shared policy focused on better outcomes for all learners, raising standards of teaching, learning, assessment and school improvement.

There are many strengths in STEM education in Ireland, but a number of challenges also exist. These include the need to

  • Ensure that Irish students’ learning in STEM disciplines significantly improves including the development of skills such as problem-solving, inquiry-based learning and team working to address demands from the world of work
  • Increase the number of students choosing STEM subjects in post-primary schools, those progressing to STEM pathways in Further or Higher Education and those who take up careers in STEM
  • Increase participation of females in STEM education and careers
  • Raise interest in, and awareness of the range of exciting careers in STEM
  • Ensure young people sustain their involvement in STEM education Providing a STEM education of the highest quality for all our young people will address these challenges and provide Ireland with the required graduates with STEM related skills and qualifications as well as the skilled workforce to fulfil existing and growing needs.

Shared Vision for St.Colman’s N.S.

Achievement of our vision will require significant change within STEM education and a programme of work which will span from 2017 to 2026.

Implementation will be realised across three phases:

Phase 1: 2017-2019, Enhancing

Phase 2: 2020-2022, Embedding

Phase 3: 2023-2026, Reflecting and Building on Existing Plan

Objectives for 2019/20/21

  • To implement STEM across 4th, 5th and 6th Class.
  • The cost of the programme for equipment and training is over €3,000. Cappagh N.S to commit to paying €500 per year over a 3-year period, Offaly County Council will cover all other costs.
  • Receive two VEX IQ Robots, a VEX IQ arena, the VEX IQ game each year for the 3 years (the game changes each year), VEX IQ event registration fees and training support from CIT, Offaly Libraries, Offaly Local Enterprise Office(LEO) and Offaly County Council’s IT department.
  • Offaly County Council will host two teacher training days per year for the next 3 years as teachers involved might change each year and schools will be also visited each year by CIT for hands on training with teachers and students.
  • /21Each year our school will compete in the Offaly VEX IQ Championship and Offaly County Council will sponsor the winning school to compete at the national VEX IQ finals in Cork each year.
  • Purchase STEM Activities Sets for all classes from Prim Ed (Senior, 1st, 3rd, 5th Level sets).
  • Students to complete class based projects and initiatives both in class and as homework based activities.

 

Links to Understanding STEM

This policy has been implemented through consultation with all stakeholders of St.Colman’s N.S. Additional information for parents is available at the following link. http://www.schooldays.ie/articles/A-Parents-Guide-to-Science,-Technology,-Engineering-and-Maths

The following is a link to the Department of Education outline and vision for STEM implementation from 2017-26. https://www.education.ie/en/The-Education-System/STEM-Education-Policy/stem-education-implementation-plan-2017-2019-.pdf

Sample Projects for Classes

https://education.lego.com/en-gb/lessons
Lessons for LEGO for students from 5-14 years of age. Some of the equipment would not be available although you could watch youtube clips to explain how it works and model by using LEGO.

https://tryengineering.org/teacher/
This website is a repository of lesson plans for bringing engineering principles into the classroom. Each lesson plan contains a general description, which introduces the reader to what this lesson will be about, the objective of teaching this lesson.

https://www.ibm.com/ibm/responsibility/initiatives/activitykits/
The Activity Kits offer support for these volunteers through pre-set activity plans and hands-on resources. Each Activity Kit comes with a description of the topic, the target audience, the goal of the activity, and how much time the activity will take – making the preparations of the volunteers simple.

https://www.khanacademy.org/
Khan Academy is an online learning platform that provides teachers, students and parents with wide variety of educational resources.
The most of these resources are focused on calculus and STEM-related topics like chemistry, biology, physics, electrical engineering, and astronomy.

https://education.minecraft.net/worlds/tutorial-world/
Minecraft Education Edition is a game world that can be used to engage students in learning STEM-related subjects. The game’s approach supports the development of critical thinking, creativity and collaboration, skills that are essential to STEM education. While following the lesson plan instructions and playing in the educational environment, students are prompted to find solutions to the various problems presented by the teacher.

http://steam-ed.ie/
STEAM in a Box!. Fun, engaging, ‘ready-to-teach’ programmes in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths, , tailor-made for primary schools.

Communication & Ratification

  • Developed by staff in January 2020
  • Presented to parents for review in February 2020
  • To be ratified by the Board of Management of St.Colman’s N.S in March 2020 and was reviewed/updated in ______________.

  

 

Signed: _____________________________   Date:___________________

            (Chairperson of Board of Management)

 

 

Signed: _____________________________   Date:___________________

            (Principal)