Junior School

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

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STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Many jobs of the future are expected to be in STEM fields and our aim is to broaden our students’ awareness of the types and variety of exciting careers, available in these fields. We want our students to be excited by the possibilities for their future, and to believe that these are areas where they can excel.

In Junior School, an interest in STEM is encouraged from an early age through a variety of exciting initiatives and projects.

Scientist and Mathematician-in-Residence Program

The in-Residence Programs are run in conjunction with the CSIRO, and help to engage and motivate teachers and students in their exploration of Science and Mathematics. The Junior School has been privileged to be allocated two CSIRO Specialists-in-Residence to work with and enhance the learning of our students. Dr Joshua Ho will be working in Computer Coding, Mathematics and Science and Ms Rosemary Chakiath in Science.

Our ICT Specialist-in-Residence, Dr Joshua Ho, is a scientist from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and a senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales. His research focuses on discovering the genetic basis of heart disease in babies. Dr Ho develops fast computer programs to sift through billions of DNA characters in each patient to identify as little as one mistake in the DNA sequence (a mutation). His research is a good example of how computer technology is being used in medical research.

Our Scientist-in-Residence, Ms Rosemary Chakiath, is a final year PhD candidate. She works at Royal North Shore Hospital in the Pain Management Research Institute (PMRI). Her project investigates how the brain and the spinal cord are involved in the development and maintenance of pain in two clinical populations.

Year 2 – Minecraft

Minecraft is a computer game that is rich in problem solving skills. In a virtual world, students must collect objects or ‘mine’ for substances that can be used to build different kinds of 3D objects. Minecraft improves visual perception and actively encourages creativity, as the learners have control. Minecraft helps to build resilience, as things don’t always go to plan, and students need to learn to develop different strategies to overcome problems. It is also collaborative, with students helping each other to overcome obstacles.

In Year 2 Library, students collaboratively build a town. Together, students need to decide what they need in the town, and what they need to do to achieve that goal successfully.

Year 3 – Claymation

Claymation is animation, using a character, or characters, made out of clay. Students use a stop animation technique, recording each frame or still picture on a digital camera and then play the recorded frames back in rapid succession, to create an animated film.

Students write stories for their Claymation movies, usually set around a topic, for example sustainability.

Year 6 – LEGO EV3 Robotics

Engineering

Robogals is an international university student-run organisation, which aims to substantially increase the number of young women pursuing engineering in their tertiary studies and careers. Its primary activity is Robotics workshops, aimed at girls in Junior and Secondary School. Robogals visit Year 6 students and assist them to build and program a LEGO robot.



The schools featured in the Innovative Schools list cover an array of ‘innovative’ approaches from use of technology to new learning environments, curriculum design, teacher and student development and more.

Ravenswood is mentioned in the report as follows: Making musical instruments from recycled materials, designing computer programs with code, and programming robots are all part of the problem-solving, creative journey for the ‘making’-focused primary girls at Ravenswood.