Transcript of Integrating STEM in the primary classroom
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT Well, good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to Syllabus PLUS this afternoon. The music will stop when I move to the presentation for today. As you can see, Tanya in the background. Give us a wave, Tanya. Tanya Coli and I are going to be co-presenting today for 'STEM in the Primary Classroom'. Tanya is the K-6 Science & Technology Advisor, and we work very closely together, and we decided that it would be great to present a session together on the integration between Mathematics and Science & Technology. Just a reminder that today's session is being recorded, both the presentation and the chat, and will be available on the Curriculum Support website from tomorrow, so that you can still access this as a recording, particularly if you've got members of your staff that weren't able to attend today. So, welcome, and we hope that you enjoy the session. So, STEM in the primary classroom. So, today we're going to be going through what that is. And so, for us it's about supporting the implementation of the new syllabus. It's a great opportunity for us to see the links between the two and to make sure we're making those links in the classroom. This is just a quote around current research, that there's a strong research base to show that students that are in integrated learning programs demonstrate academic performance equal to or better than students in discipline-based programs. So it's not to say that we don't...we want to stop doing discipline-based programs that are just straight about Science & Technology or Mathematics or English, but the engagement and the activities the students are involved in investigating when the learning is integrated, assists the students in getting a deeper understanding of the quality of the learning, and to get a deeper understanding of the concepts being taught and how they're applied in other situations. I'm going to hand over to Tanya. We're going to do a bit of a tit for tat today and talk together and share our ideas. So I'll...
TANYA COLI I hope that doesn't confuse you people, you know, listening to the tandem presentation between the two of us. So, what is STEM? STEM stands for four areas of the curriculum - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. And as you can see by that diagram, they're all linked by the fact that the problem-solving that happens in the classroom and can happen in real life, and you'll find that in real-life situations, that problem-solving is what all of these areas hang from. You may have heard along the way and, as you can see on the side there, STEAM and some people - the art, the visual art people, or the integrated people who like to have some art in there - and you may have heard of iSTEM, and that just stands for 'integrated', which it all is anyway. So, learning across the curriculum - which areas fit best in STEM? As we went through the areas across the curriculum, it lends itself beautifully to critical and creative thinking, information, communication and technology, literacy and numeracy, personal and social capability, work and enterprise. As students manage their own environment, their equipment, their materials, they design the path they would like to follow when they're investigating and coming up with the problem-solving techniques.
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT Yeah, I think that links back to what Tanya mentioned about problem-solving being at the centre of both Science & Technology and Mathematics. And we want to make it really clear that our syllabus documents bring the content, these areas bring a context, that we can join across those KLAs.
TANYA COLI So, when making the links, these are different quotes that you'll see bandied around all over the place, and they just reinforce the importance of presenting things in an integrated way or, in a STEM integrated way. So, all students learn in dynamic and creative ways through quality teaching - that hits the mark beautifully. Teachers plan innovative learning programs, including ones which are integrated. Again, all of these reinforce the concept and the understanding which underpins STEM. Teachers assess student knowledge, skills, capabilities and values required for contemporary and future living, and teachers raise expectations and enhance the quality of student learning. All of these things are touched on, as in the Learning Across the Curriculum, when you were integrating in the STEM subjects.
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT So, these are a couple of quotes and information from a few websites as well. And in the end of the session today, at the conclusion pod, there are some other web links, including where these quotes came from, that might help you in understanding STEM a bit further. And it really presents opportunities for us to look at those 21st-century learning skills, and particularly around adaptability, being able to communicate, those social skills which, remember, if you think about personal and social capabilities in our general capabilities, and that non-routine problem-solving. I know I've mentioned in the past in some of my sessions about those ideas of googleable versus non-googleable problems or questions, so it's more about finding things that are interesting that you just can't find a quick answer for, but actually involve the students thinking through themselves. And there's a little list there of STEM in Elementary Years. It's part of a slideshow that we found from an American school, but we agree with all of these aspects that we really think are involved with STEM. It's about that applying inquiry to learning, analysing problems, engineering as problem-solving, developing logical thinking - which is that critical and creative thinking from the general capabilities - solving problems. That Maths is the language and the tool, and you'll hear us talking about that a bit today, that a lot of these mathematical skills are necessary to be able to design and make in Science & Technology, so they really go hand in hand. And as you plan and program either teaching these things as an integrated unit or even teaching them sequentially so that they have a nice flow-on, and students can see the links between them.
TANYA COLI So, organisationally, many of you have gone through either the Adobe Connects or you understand how the syllabus, the Science & Technology syllabus, is organised. We thought we'd very quickly touch on these areas just to reinforce the integral parts, I suppose, or the intent of the syllabus and how it should work, and see the relationship which so beautifully blends with these two syllabuses especially. So, we have in the Venn diagram from the syllabus, we have the content, which is overall. And you've got to understand that the content comes from knowledge, understanding and skills. There is content in all of those strands. But it's a really good idea, or it's best, if we teach in particular context. And the contexts have to be relevant to what's happening in school, what's happening in the students' lives, what's relevant in each individual context. And it's very hard to pick up a unit of learning that somebody else has done and not have to change it or tweak it or make it fit into your context because it's got to be authentic and meaningful and purposeful to the students and to yourself. So, in the Knowledge and Understanding strands, we have two - the Natural Environment, the Made Environment. Within the Natural Environment you have the Physical World, Earth and Space, Living World, Material World. And in the Made Environment, Built Environments, Information, Products, the Material World. And, as mentioned before, Material World fits in both of those because there are two strands within the Material World which then lend themselves into Stage 4 - Science, which is a chemical world in one hand, and Technology (Mandatory), which is the technology side. In the centre of both of the Knowledge and Understanding strands are the Skills strands, that of Working Scientifically and Working Technologically. And they should be the drivers. They should be up front and centre, and through those Skills strands students are involved in practical activities which deliver the content. The content is more or less learnt accidentally or incidentally through the doing. And as you can see underneath, "The true intent is about learning through doing. Students are immersed in real-life context and actively engaged in practical activities through which the content is learnt." So, how is the science defined? Science "provides the explanations and enables sense to be made of our environments. The students are engaged in posing the questions and testing ideas and developing and evaluating arguments based on evidence. They demonstrate honesty and fairness in using the skills of Working Scientifically." And you will find that a lot of the integration between Maths and Science & Technology happens in this strand in particular. Technology "involves the solving of real problems and creating ideas and solutions". I just want to make it clear, and people will hear me say this over and over again, Technology is not just about the ICT or the IT. It's not about the capability, but about the design process. It's about doing...going through the process, developing the skills when they're solving these real-life problems and creating ideas. They "actively engage in real-world situations and use technology skills and knowledge and understanding to create these solutions". So, the aims of the syllabus - to develop students' competence and creativity in applying the processes of Working Scientifically, Working Technologically. Through Working Scientifically, they develop their skills in questioning, observing, exploring, communicating. And if you have your Mathematics syllabus hat on, then you know that they're all the things that are happening in Maths as well. When they're Working Technologically, they develop their skills in exploring, generating and developing ideas and producing solutions and evaluating. And, again, things that you're doing when you were Working Mathematically. They enhance students' confidence in making evidence-based decisions. They enable students to comfortably respond to needs and opportunities. So, Science & Technology provides the opportunities for students to develop informed attitudes based on evidence and reason. And through engagement, they develop the capabilities needed to become more scientifically and technologically literate citizens."
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT And moving over, just to reiterate some of the Maths intentions as well. And you can hear the same things coming through from Science & Technology into Mathematics. Mathematics is about reasoning and creative... It's a reasoning and creative activity. It's about making generalisations and describing and applying patterns and relationships. So, those words are all very familiar to the Science & Technology syllabus as well. And learning is an active process, and we construct the new ideas based on what they already know. And that's the constructivist theory around how students learn by doing and by making and by being involved and collaborating. And that's the basis of...the majority of our syllabuses are based on a constructivist theory, and particularly Mathematics. One of our important aims is that...making sure that we can help our students recognise the connections between areas both within mathematics, but within other disciplines as that aspect of lifelong learning. So links between things like multiplication and area, but also links to other disciplines, which is what we're focusing on today, which is how I use that Mathematics, how is it applied in Science & Technology? That Working Mathematically is at the heart of our syllabus. It's about communicating, problem-solving and reasoning. Understanding and fluency are also there, but those other three are our outcomes, and they are all words that I heard Tanya just talk about in relation to Science & Technology. And that is the 'how' we teach the 'what', which I think is what my next slide sort of talks about as well. So the content, it's how we teach the content through the doing, so it's through reasoning, through communicating and through problem-solving. And that's all embedded, and it's all part of the learning process. So, some of the links that we could see... So, Tanya and I had a great time chatting about the links across both of our syllabus documents and our key learning areas. And these were the big ones that we came across. It was measuring, it's data and it's communicating. And there's lots more, and we're going to ask for some info back from the people watching today as we go through some of these. But we definitely saw that measuring, so about the aspect of the attributes, like, things like volume or as part of data collecting, so looking at measuring temperature or maybe length or speed, and also following plans. So these are all aspects of measurement that link both to Mathematics and Science & Technology. Data is that other one. And I think data is one of the ones that links to other KLAs quite easily as well, including HSIE and PD/H/PE, so that data collection and comparison, the questioning involved, the interpreting the data and applying it to new situations. And then, of course, communicating. There's no way that you can do either of our subjects without having the students communicate what they're learning about and what they've learnt how to do or what they now know. And we really want to look at those strategies for solutions, their ideas and predictions. And I think that predictions is really, really important, and we don't often focus on that enough, about students having a go or putting up a hypothesis first and then testing it. And that's what investigations are about. And constructing and using the data to communicate. Tanya, did you want to mention anything on that slide as well?
TANYA COLI No, you've said it beautifully. I think the communicating also involves not just the findings and communicating the findings, but communicating the process that they went through and how effective that was. It's not just about the results or the product, but it's the process, the journey that they're travelling along to get to the end.
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT Yeah, absolutely. Well said. So, we're going to go through the links that we found, as well as some examples of that for the classroom. And for data, we're actually going to go through the whole learning process sequence from Early Stage 1, right through to Stage 3. And then we'll share with you some other examples that we found as well. So, as you can see, we just tried to colour-code the writing today, so that you can see how they link together, but also where they come from, syllabus-wise. And so, this was one of those ones for the data, and it starts in Early Stage 1. And even when they're just collecting information about themselves and arranging that into a data display, we found that this links very strongly in both of our syllabuses. And you can see the specific example there, about students posing a question about what they'd like to know about their classmates and where they live. Tanya, do you want to jump in there as well?
TANYA COLI Yes. As far as the data for Early Stage 1 is concerned, it's a matter of representing it somehow. And even something as simple as likes and dislikes, it fits very naturally into the Working Scientifically strand where you have students process and analyse data and information. And it's just organising information for Early Stage 1 and displaying it in different ways and then making observations of what they've got.
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT When we move into Stage 1, you can see that they're starting to use a range of methods, and that's in the Science section there, about to describe things that are observable. And for Mathematics, that sort of links with our interpreting the information and the way it's presented. So they're starting to be a little bit critical about the kinds of data displays they're using and they're using it to represent particular information. So, for our example there, it's about students possibly exploring weather. And so they can make some predictions at the start of the week and they create a graph to record their findings, and then the students then interpret their results. And I think that was important what Tanya mentioned about not just communicating their findings, but also the processes they went through. And at this sort of stage, they're really only looking at column and picture graphs, but the students might make up their own informal way of graphing that as well. Tanya?
TANYA COLI Specifically in Earth and Space there for Stage 1, we're talking about observing and recording environmental changes that occur. But as you go through all the substrands, you'll find an area where you're observing, and you'll decide one way or the other of how you collect your data and interpret/analyse the data.
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT And I will just answer a question I can see in the pod. That's a really good question about, "So, what do I start with? Is it Maths or is it Science?" And I think there's no right or wrong answer with that. It depends on where your students are at. So, you might be looking at developing your Science unit and maybe that's the main focus, but you're going to draw on some of those mathematics skills or understandings as part of your Science unit. And, at the same time, I might note that you might not see any particular links directly to Mathematics when you're designing your Science & Technology unit, but there might be some prerequisite skills like measuring skills, like creating the data into graphs of some sort, that you know the students are going to need as a prerequisite skill or as a prior knowledge, so it might be a good idea that just when you're programming for your Mathematics, that it's at the same time, it's at the same week during that term that that is planned for. But definitely you could make an integrated unit. That's how our examples sit. We sat down together and we talked about, Well, what does Early Stage 1 look like for both of us?" And we could see the links really clearly. And you could give them both an equal weighting and you could definitely assess both Mathematics and Science & Technology outcomes in the one task that culminates as part of your unit. Tanya, do you want to comment too?
TANYA COLI Yes. So in the integrated unit, Roz, you're right, you do make an integrated unit, I think, and you look at other aspects too that could be truly integrated, not just tokenistically integrated. But when you've got the overall view, you know that further down the track the students will be involved in some sort of measurement or there might be a skill in particular that they're going to have to integrate further down the track. So in your Maths lesson you explicitly teach that skill so that when they come to the Sci-Tech part of the lesson, they're successful in doing the measurement or the data collecting or whatever it is specifically that they're aiming to do at that time. So it's a matter of having a good plan, having the overview, the holistic view, and then knowing when to explicitly teach the skills that need to be learnt before they come to that part in the unit.
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT And I guess that's, sort of, where we have a little bit more flexibility or ability to do that in the primary setting because generally it's the same person who's teaching both KLAs. Sometimes you might not have that. But if you are teaching both of them, you already know what's coming up or what you've planned, and so you can make those decisions yourself. So, in Stage 2 we also saw links with that data where they're using a range of research techniques, and that's in the Science & Technology side, and for us in Mathematics it's about identifying sources of data. And even when I look at some of those sources of data, I can already see when they talk about things like environmental groups or government or newspapers, it's going to have some of those links with things like sustainability or personal and social capabilities, and that's where I can see the connection there with the Science & Technology. And so for this, the link just might be about that students are contacting local councils and maybe their local AECG, if there's one in their area, for data on how the local environment has changed. And so not only are they identifying the possible sources of data, which is the Maths outcome, but they're also completing those aspects of the Science & Technology syllabus there as well. Tanya?
TANYA COLI Yeah, and it says, too, for Stage 2, that they're starting to include formal units of length, time and mass, so in their measurements, in their gathering of data, they'll be doing both - data collection as the measurement as well there, and looking at how they're going to present it. And so, you need to be looking at the progression there as well. And that's where it's important to really understand the two syllabuses and know when you should be introducing different aspects along the continuum or progression of leaning.
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT And when we get to Stage 3 with data, we want them to be able to start considering the data type to determine and draw the most appropriate display. So, this is quite a higher order skill in Mathematics, where we want them to be able to choose. It's not just, "OK, now I can draw a line graph or now I can do a dot plot," it's working out what's the best type of one to use. Is it about numerical data? Is it about categorical data? And you can see how that would link in there with making predictions about the changes to physical conditions, for impact on growth or survival of living things in the Living World for Science & Technology. And we've said that students could investigate what are the perfect growing conditions for plants, so experimenting with light and water, and they need to then determine the appropriate way to represent their data. So it's not me as a teacher telling them which one to use, but they're going to need to have those mathematical skills of how to create all of those data displays and why you would use them, before they get to this task. And I just put on the side there that use of the ambiguous phrase like 'perfect', or a lot of inquiry-based learning looks at the word 'best'. And I think that's really important, to use those types of words, because it actually leads to good investigations because, well, what is perfect, what is best? And the students can decide themselves what those aspects are that they're going to report on. I can see you're madly typing, Tanya, but I'm going to...
TANYA COLI I am typing. They're really good questions. There was... So, as we integrate it, there needs to be stand-alone lessons. Yes, that's what I was talking about. There needs to be some explicit teaching of the skills for both Science & Technology and Maths so that when they come together during the holistic, the problem-solving time, then they can achieve success as they go through that. And I was just...in Stage 3, in analysing...processing and analysing data in Working Scientifically, it specifically says, "Using numerical techniques to analyse data and information, including calculating the means and percentages of small sets of data." And that's a really good example of you need to explicitly teach that before they can do it in Science & Tech. So, yes, you still have to timetable for the Maths time for those explicit lessons, but I think there may be some more integrated time where the two are happening at the same time in another part of the day.
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT Absolutely. You really can't do one without the other. And I can see people's comments in the chat there, and, yes, definitely there's still going to be times we are going to need to teach explicit lessons for Mathematics and maybe some explicit lessons for Science & Technology to develop those skills and processes. But then it's that application - "OK, what do I do with all of this? I don't just want to learn these things in isolation. I want to bring them all together." And that's really what we're looking at here. So, on some other examples as well, and Tanya mentioned that measurement and data is a form of measurement as well, but we also saw this example in Stage 1, where, in Mathematics, we're being able to record length and distances by referring to number and type of units used. And we thought this links in really nicely with...that students are able to describe the effects of pushes and pulls on familiar objects. So, how could you measure it? What could you measure? And the students are exploring and describing these movements and the effects. And they might be measuring the distance, they might be measuring the speed over that distance as well. And that's into Stage 2, obviously, but you can see the links that they're forming there for this type of unit of learning.
TANYA COLI This is a really good example of contextual learning. So, your class will have their needs, their interests, and that's what's going to drive what part of Maths or Science & Technology you're going to follow. So, you know, it may be something in the world of toys that's relevant to the kids, or there might be a particular area. It might be physical...physical jumping, skipping of distances that you're looking at as far as your Science & Technology's concerned.
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT So, we're just going to hand it over to you for a couple of moments. And people are already adding in the chat, which is fantastic today. What other connections do you think there would be for Stage 1? So, maybe you are a Stage 1 teacher for Mathematics and Science & Technology. Any other suggestions you want to pop up in the chat there, if you've got your syllabuses with you today? We did say if you could bring them. Obviously, not everyone's going to have that ability. But any other ideas for Stage 1? Tanya's typing, but nobody else is typing. Yeah, slow off the mark today, but that's OK. It is hard, and that's the whole... Oh, here we go. Lovely. Yes, calculating, measuring and comparing. Many connections, yes, there are. Thanks, Diane. Nice to see you on as well today. Hello at Lindfield. Fractions and decimals, yes. How much you need to use of a product." Yes. Yes, measurement. Bird survey. Yes, discrete and continuous data - probably...maybe not so much for Stage 1. They're still sort of at just looking at continuous data. But that's OK, that's still definitely a link that can be seen over the stages as well. Yeah. Lovely. And, yeah, definitely with constructions of 3D objects in Space in Geometry or Measurement in Geometry. Yes. Oh, look at all those lovely...
TANYA COLI OK, I was just talking over Katherin then. Wasn't very nice of me. I'm seeing quite a few references to Primary Connections, and I thought rather than typing, it might just be easier for me to talk in response. Primary Connections has got some great ideas and wonderful resources, but always map it back to the syllabus. It's mapped to the Australian Curriculum and therefore not the New South Wales syllabus, so you need to go back to your New South Wales, our syllabus, and map it to both the Science & Technology and the Mathematics, to be able to tick those boxes. Just make sure that there's a purpose behind what you're doing, you're not doing it for busywork, but it's actually satisfying some of the syllabus outcomes from these two syllabuses. Very important. Great as a resource, but not as a stand-alone lessons or textbook type.
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT Yeah, I always encourage people to be really critical. We like being consumers as teachers, but you've still got to make sure it's for the right context, and absolutely that it matches the syllabus outcomes for both Science & Technology and Mathematics. So that's really good. And I can see that Tanya's screen's just gone off for a minute. Oh, she's back on again. That's OK. There were some issues earlier today. In the light of time for today, I am going to move through a little bit faster. In Stage 2 we also saw a connection with communicating. And for this sort of understanding around communicating, we didn't put a specific example because it was more the verbs and the language that we saw coming out within Stage 2 that... And particularly within data, it's discussing advantages and disadvantages, suitability of graphs, comparing, making choices, predicting. And in Science & Technology, the same words came out again - predicting, working collaboratively, comparing results, communicating. So there's a myriad of examples you could find in Stage 2 that would match both of our syllabus outcomes and the purposes behind our syllabus. So there's a lot of connections and it's not difficult to see them being made together. Also, I won't go into this, but if you are watching this as a recording, you might like to stop now and have a look through your two syllabus documents that you have and look for the connections that you can find for Stage 2 within Mathematics and Science & Technology, the strategies that are used, the tools that we use for the investigations, and what kind of prior knowledge is required by our students to actually connect with this learning. So, I won't go through that today, but I can see some lovely examples already appearing in the chat for today, so thank you for participating in there. In Stage 3, we also saw the connections with position and 3D and 2D, and someone mentioned that in the chat pod already, about when we're looking at model building and constructing models of prisms and pyramids and how that then relates to activities around students possibly designing a shade for their playground. Tanya, did you want to mention anything in there about model building?
TANYA COLI Yeah... [INAUDIBLE] The Built Environment lends itself probably the best to all things Maths and... Because as they're investigating, they're measuring, they're testing, whether it be something in the playground or an area in the back corner of a play area, and then designing some sort of built environment that suits their needs. There's so much maths involved in that type of activity alone that it is...really, it is a no-brainer as far as connecting the two KLAs.
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT Yeah, and the students don't know they're learning. They're using mathematics at the same time. They'll think that's a wonderful, fun activity, but then drawing their attention to that and letting them see, "Well, hang on, you know, you're actually using your mathematics. You're applying it in a new situation." And that's really what we want our students to be doing, and not seeing mathematics in isolation but where it sits with everything else. So I really think that's a great example. And then, again, if you're watching this as a recording, you might want to stop at this point and look at the other connections you can find in Stage 3 for Mathematics and Science & Technology, if you have the time to continue with the discussion today or as a recording. It is nearly time for us to go. This was just a quick taster. Tanya and I are doing some more work in this area and really want to develop that further for some professional learning. Here's just some other resources around STEM that you might want to access to have a look at, that might help you out a little bit in seeing where you could start this process in your own school. We just also wanted to bring your attention to the fact that you can now access all of the Syllabus PLUS sessions for all KLAs, both primary and secondary, from the one website. I will, obviously, still update them on Curriculum Support for Mathematics, and Tanya will probably still be updating them for Science & Technology on her site. But just so people know, you can access all of them in the one location, and that will get updated by a number of people in our team, so that if you're looking for all of them, the English ones as well, you can now find them there. So that picture is hyperlinked, and the link is on the right there. And I've just popped in the image that you can actually add that website to your portal as a favourite. So, yeah, the links should work. I'm just reading the chat at the same time. I've tested them all out. You do have to log in using your DEC password to get access to those. But as you know, sometimes with things on the intranet, you might need to try it 10 minutes later and it will work then, so you might need to have another go. Just our contact details. They're the details for Science & Technology for the primary team at the moment. There's Tanya Coli, who you've seen in here, and Jackie... And I don't even know how to pronounce Jackie's last name. Tanya might like to do it for me.
TANYA COLI Slaviero. And she's giving great ideas in the chat box, talking about Citizen Science and that...the weather watch. That's just a snapshot of our latest newsletter. I really encourage you to click on the curriculum network's link. That newsletter there is hyperlinked as well, and it's got support that comes our way for both the Maths and the Sci-Tech syllabuses.
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT Great. Thanks, Tanya. Sorry to Jackie that I haven't learnt to pronounce your last name yet, but I know you as Jackie, so that's OK. And, sorry, just in the chat pod as well, yes, you should be able to access those links from your home computer. It's just a matter of typing in your DEC password. So do try it again at some point. For Mathematics, there's my details, and Kerrie Spencer is in here at the moment acting as the Maths advisor for the Australian Curriculum. We still have the 'Mathematical Bridge' newsletter, which that image is hyperlinked to where they're kept. If you want to subscribe to any of our networks, including Science & Technology or Mathematics, you can click on that link there. And I think both of us have it underneath our emails to people. So, that's our information. Moving onto the conclusion slide for today... I know I've gone five minutes over. Just aware of the time factor. There's a whole lot of other web links there for you to access around some other things that we found around STEM, both in the UK and the USA and here as well. But thank you for being involved today and for adding your comments in the chat. We really appreciate it. I think it's something that we can really get into as primary educators. STEM has been a bit of a buzzword for secondary, so we want to get on board as well. The presentation's there in the pod, and the next session is on 2 September for Mathematics, to continue. So, thank you. If there's any further questions, do pop them in the chat today. Tanya, do you have any final comments before we sign off?
TANYA COLI No. I just wanted to say thank you too. I'm very, very impressed with the interaction and the ideas. Thank you, everyone, for being with us this afternoon
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT Lovely. Well, we'll sign off now from the recording. And, yeah, as I said, if you've got any extra questions, please pop them in the chat as well. I think I will answer that question there - How does COGS fit in with STEM?" I think it's really important to note that the COGS units were examples. They weren't to be, sort of, taken as the only way to teach an integrated approach to outcomes at all. And you really should be moving away from that now. Tanya, do you want to make a comment about that as well?
TANYA COLI As I keep saying, in the first instance, look at your syllabus. The COGS units are reliant on the old syllabuses. Where there are new ones, it would just take longer and a lot of hard work to try and realign them and make sure that the connections are authentic connections and not tokenistic. It's just this is a great opportunity to be immersed in a couple of new syllabuses that have the same sort of ideas behind it. It's all through the doing and the Working Mathematically. It's important that we engage and take this opportunity to reinvigorate, I suppose, and remotivate people with these syllabuses. COGS were great. There might be some bits and pieces that you can adopt or adapt into your new units of learning or programs, whatever you're creating, but I think we should take the opportunity to reinvigorate, I suppose.
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT And, look, Tanya and I, like, obviously, we're, sort of, specialists in our areas, but we just sat down for half an hour, and we had probably 100 different units of work or even lesson ideas together, just from looking at the syllabus and opening the documents without going to other resources first. There's a question in there too about Primary Connections. Do you want to reiterate what you said earlier, Tanya, in regards to those?
TANYA COLI Yes, Tracey, Primary Connections, a great resource - fantastic ideas, some wonderful templates and things within it - but, again, it's got to be a resource... It's aligned to the Australian Curriculum, not the New South Wales syllabus. And you need to always use the syllabus in the first instance to see that you're not doing things that aren't necessary, that aren't busywork or things that take up time. They have a wonderful resource of background information for teachers who don't feel competent in teaching a particular concept, but, as I said, use it as a resource, not as a bible. Your syllabus should be your first port of call.
KATHERIN CARTWRIGHT And it's so important to think about your students. Like, where are they at? What is their learning context as well? We are learners. We are...our job is to develop quality units of learning for our students. So we can't just be using the same thing from 20 and 30 years ago. You need to look at the syllabus, look at where your students are at, what's going to be interesting for them and engaging for them. And, yes, it's about Working Scientifically, Working Technologically and Working Mathematically. So see those three skill and process areas together and hopefully we can get on board with the focus. But thank you. I will close off the recording from now. But you can feel free to keep the conversation going in the chat pod.