STEM learning journals

STEM learning journals (also known as learning logs, design folios or portfolios) are a valuable tool for teachers and students from Kindergarten through to Year 6. They provide teachers with evidence of each student’s achievement and a reflective base to review their progress and provide feedback.

STEM learning journals allow students opportunities to:

  • record their ideas, findings, and understandings
  • share the ways they have applied their understandings to develop their solution
  • demonstrate how their thinking has developed and changed
  • reflect on their learning throughout their STEM project.

The journal may be a digital or paper-based format tailored to meet the needs of the students and the classroom.

The entries in the journal may take many forms. For Early Stage 1 students, a journal may be a series of drawings with single words or short sentences to describe the student’s ideas and plans. For Stage 3 students, the journal may include detailed descriptive pieces of writing outlining the features of a solution that they have developed. In all classes, the students would be capturing formal and informal ideas, plans and reasoning for ongoing challenges and directions.

The entries may include:

  • labelled and annotated drawings, sketches, and maps
  • photographic evidence
  • completed proformas, checklists, rubrics
  • research information
  • data tables and analysis
  • outlines of ideas that have worked and those that did not
  • feedback from teachers and peers
  • self-assessment and reflections including summative comments about what the students learnt and what they may do differently in the future.

Sample templates for digital learning logs and learning portfolio tools are available through the Digital Tool Selector, accessed through the NSW Department of Education Staff Portal login. A digital design folio is available for download from the NSW Department of Education Design thinking webpage.

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