Video transcript – STEM at Ellerston Public School

Sam Small, Principal:
Ellerston is a small school in the Upper Hunter region of New South Wales, at the foot of the Barrington Tops, beyond the mobile phone reception.

Hello, I am Sam Small, the principal of Ellerston Public School. This year we have 20 happy students who frequently ride their motorbikes, drive with their parents upwards of half an hour along a dirt road, or walk across the polo fields to get to school, 15 always with a smile on their face.

So why has STEM and Making become a priority for Ellerston Public School? STEM and Making have become a priority at Ellerston Public School, to both develop future learning within students, and increase student engagement with science, technology, engineering and maths.

We've always aimed to provide a learning environment that fosters the natural curiosity of children, and develops their lateral thinking, problem solving skills, and STEM is a vehicle that promotes these skills. We aim to develop our robotics, coding, Makerspace and STEM activities continually over the next few years, and encourage students to engage within science, technology, engineering and maths.

How are we going about this? Well, our teachers have been to professional development with Ralph Pirozzo, learning how to create the most engaging classrooms with STEM as a centrepiece for the lessons and the units of work. We've also been to some really excelling schools in the STEM and Makerspace scene in the surrounding areas to observe what they're doing, what successes they're having, and what they would do differently if they could do it again.

As time goes on, and as funds come in, we plan to continue to renovate our weather shed, and turn that into a workshop, where students will be able to collaborate inside and outside to practise and develop their making and engineering. In the meantime, we've been using the different rooms,the library and our COLA (covered outdoor learning area) when necessary, depending on how many students are engaging within our lesson.

Is it working for us? If our goals are to develop future learning and best prepare our students for an unknown job, then yes. STEM is helping to create agile students who are working and learning together. Using technology and solving problems. Our students are interested in learning science, using technology effectively building and engineering, and participation rates in STEM related maths activities, have increased and are continuing to increase. happy group of students, who are excited about school, and talk about the exciting things that they're doing and learning at school with their friends and families.

Year 3 student Emily:
I like STEM because you get to build creations you've never built before. And when you work together, you realise that you can build cool stuff. I like it because you can work with others and stretch your brain.

Year 1 student 2 Riley:
I like STEM because you can make different things you've never made before. And it's cool art. When I was doing it, my group was named the STEM Monkeys. And I had lots of fun.

Year 6 student Daniel:
STEM is brilliant because I get to work with the little kids as well as being able to create amazing things and working together as a team.

Year 1 student Rosie:
My favourite thing about STEM is that you can build figmental towers with spaghetti and marshmallows and lego, working, yeah.

Year 1 student Bridget:
I love STEM because it makes my brain grow and I get to do it with all my friends.

Year 3 student Owen:
I think STEM is great because you get to do fun activities and partner up with people. I like the tee-pee the best.

Year 6 student Sophie:
STEM is fun because it's a great chance to make and design sculptures and buildings. I like working with the younger kids, helping them in the fun challenges. My favourite part was when the gadgets van came down and taught us how to code. We made Lego machines, then coded them to make movements. My favourite thing about STEM is working on hard challenges.

End of transcript

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