Teachers from CEWA schools across the South West region gathered at Bunbury Catholic College’s Marist Campus recently for workshops aimed at equipping them with tools to engage their students in problem-based and STEM learning.
The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Makerspace workshops were facilitated by Bunbury Catholic College teacher Annabel Kanakis, who is passionate about improving her knowledge and skills as a STEM educator, in collaboration with Associate Professor Rachel Sheffield from Curtin University School of Education and CEWA science and digital learning consultant Michelle Lloyd.
Annabel and Professor Sheffield have developed an extensive suite of STEM projects and resources. These were the foundation of the workshops, which attracted staff from 12 South West CEWA schools, as well as Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School and Grace Christian School.
The Hon Nola Marino, Federal Member for Forrest, sponsored morning and afternoon tea for the workshop day, and dropped in to speak with educators about the skills students need to prepare them for the future.
The workshops, one focused on primary years and one on secondary, aimed to equip educators with the tools to be able to develop makerspaces – the physical spaces along with the mindsets and practices that support students to embrace creative and problem-based STEM learning.
STEM makerspaces focus on content knowledge, as well as the development of critical thinking, collaboration and communication.
Professor Sheffield and Annabel demonstrated strategies teachers can use with their students, at any year level, in their Makerspace, and some of these strategies were investigated by the participants using the materials provided for the workshop.
Teachers took away a package with ideas, activities and support for the development of their own makerspace.