iSTEM

A hands-on course that delivers science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in an interdisciplinary, innovative and integrated fashion.

Students may undertake either 100 or 200 hours of study in iSTEM in Stage 5. Courses are structured in the following ways:

  • a 100-hour course consisting of either
    • Core 1 and Core 2 and one elective and one specialised option
    • Core 1 and Core 2 and 2 specialised options
  • a 200-hour course consisting of Core 1 and Core 2 and at least one elective and up to five specialised options

iSTEM is an innovative student-centred elective that integrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The course focuses on applied learning and skillset development based on the needs of local and national industries.

iSTEM prepares students to engage with STEM knowledge, understanding and skills using inquiry, problem and project-based learning pedagogies.

Professional learning

Course information for leaders

The introduction of department-approved electives provided an opportunity to update the iSTEM course so that it remains at the forefront of STEM education.

Previous versions included topics which were referred to as either core or elective modules. iSTEM (2022) has core, elective, and a new category of specialised topics.

New specialised topics are focused on STEM priority industries, with industry input pivotal in their development. Topics will develop knowledge and skills that underpin future-focused industries.

Whilst some topics have been superseded, essential elements of their content can be found in other areas of the course.

Course outcomes have been refined so that all are now covered within each topic.

School leaders should consider the following areas before electing to offer iSTEM:

  • Curriculum – due to the wide range of elective topics available, careful consideration should be given to timetabling, staffing, and rooming.
  • Work, health and safety – Schools need to ensure that work, health and safety policies and procedures and other policies are followed. This includes school leaders ensuring appropriate teacher training and approval to teach and class sizes when utilising practical classrooms.
  • Learning spaces – The practical nature of iSTEM, may require access to specialist rooms in Technological and Applied Studies and Science.
  • Resourcing – iSTEM is a contemporary, technology-based practical subject which may require investment in additional equipment and materials.
  • Pedagogies – A combination of inquiry, problem and project-based learning pedagogies are required to meet the intent of this course.
  • Staff training – Additional professional learning may be required for staff to effectively deliver some aspects of the course. Schools need to ensure that staff have appropriate training and expertise.
  • Industry links and pathways – The purpose of any STEM initiative must involve active engagement with the wider educational community, government, and industry groups.

The course

Schools must use the iSTEM course document (DOCX 200 KB) to develop educational programs for this course to comply with the Curriculum planning and programming, assessing and reporting to parents K-12 Policy and associated policy standards.

Scope and sequences are flexible documents and may vary according to local school contexts and student cohorts, provided they comply with the course documents.

Assessment

iSTEM assessment advice (DOCX 147 KB) is available to assist teachers to select a range of different activities for the purpose of assessing and reporting.

Department-approved elective courses are not eligible for credentialing on the Record of School Achievement (RoSA). Assessment activities should reflect the school's organisation of the course and provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning.


Teaching resources

Schools may choose to adapt or modify this content or use other materials suitable to their local context, provided they comply with the course documents.

For more information

Category:

  • Teaching and learning

Topics:

  • All high schools
  • Classroom teachers
  • Curriculum and Reform
  • School executive
  • Teaching and learning
  • Web page
  • Year 10
  • Year 9

Business Unit:

  • Curriculum and Reform
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