I want to describe my experience of the STEM Discovery Week 2018. In addition to my job as a teacher, I also work as a teachers’ trainer at the Faculty of Science Education at Technion, the Israel Institute of Science and Technology.
During the STEM Discovery Week, I did an activity with pre-service teachers and students from the 9th grade, who came to Technion for a visit.
As our Year 8 students will soon be selecting subjects to further their studies, we will be hosting a STEM PRO-Panel to introduce students to a variety of STEM Careers through a discussion with professionals. We have invited 4 professionals from the areas of Pharmaceutics, Health, Game design, and Mathematics in Banking. Each professional delivered a 10 minute introduction about his/her sector. Students then joined 1 professional of their choice for a more in depth discussion/interview about the opportunities available in the sector, job descriptions as well as requirements in terms of education and skills. Through this STEM PRO –Panel we hope students can relate science subjects to potential careers and understand how theory covered in schools is translated to the world of work. Our ultimate goal was to inspire students to aim to pursue STEM careers following the selection and appreciation of STEM subjects at school.
What if a referendum had to take place in Malta about whether we should keep using fossil fossils as our main source of obtaining electrical energy or whether we should switch completely to renewables? Our society (class) is made up of 24 students who are divided into 5 groups. 2 lobby groups composed of 6 members each represent each side of the referendum’s options. The Oil Cowboy group represents the current local system making use of fossil fuels. The Tree Huggers group campaigns in favour of switching to renewable options. Joining our debate are 3 civilian groups with 4 students each. The members of society are our voters. One group of civilians known as “Electric-Malta employees” represents a group of people who are currently employed in the power stations and thus fear loss of their job due to the change. Another group is known as the “skeptics” who are skeptical of both parties, as they have found flaws with both proposals. The final group is called the “health and finance inspectors” that evaluates the changes in terms of health and finance. All groups are provided with age-appropriate literature, while being equipped with the knowledge covered throughout the topic part of Maltese syllabus related to climate change to help them build their arguments. Civilian groups draft questions for both lobby groups. Lobby groups are prepared to defend their point of view, as well as to provide reasonable arguments against the opposing group. The 80 minutes long debate is (in my opinion) very successful in terms of getting the boys to engage in a scientific debate having relevance to every day life.
Introductory speech by Tree Hugger team leader
Introductory speech by Oil Cowboy team leader
Health and Finance inspector raising some questions
As the debate gets heated!
A funny moment!
The primary reason for hosting the debate is to encourage students to experience science in potential real-life situation. Members of the general public nowadays have their say about several issues where society and science converge, such as abortion or the use of GMC. Thus, I think it is important for our students to experience an example of a situation within the context of their daily life that requires the application of scientific knowledge. Students are also encouraged to make use of the critical and creative thinking skills while promoting collaborative learning. Students are also going to practice their presentation and entrepreneurial skills. All the skills mentioned are 21st century skills, which are of ever-growing importance and should be developed in parallel with content learning.
Okulumuzun laboratuvarımızda, ilk olarak öğrencilerimize kısa KÖK tanıdık. Daha sonra basit plastik ve atık malzemelerden araçlar tasarladık ve sergiledik. Su roketimiz bahçede çok dikkat çekti. Son olarak, bizim makarna kesim var. Bölgemizdeki STEM Haftası etkinlikleri sırasında yer alan tek okul olması bizim için büyük bir gurur kaynağı oldu.
Is it possible to educate young people for today’s demand for entrepreneurship and readiness for change? New Nordic Youth is a Danish one-year boarding school with exactly this ambition. IBM Denmark and New Nordic Youth collaborated on a case competition to bring together the students’ talent within technology, business and media design.
The 70 students visited IBM to kick off the case competition and get inspiration from three professional IBM’ers working with the areas technology, business and media design. Here they got the tools to turn their everyday challenges into a profitable business idea. During the following weeks, the students worked on the case and their start-up idea to further develop it.
The case work was rounded off with a great final where the students pitched their ideas to an IBM panel. They dressed up and presented their prototypes, business strategy and communication strategy. The ideas varied from an app to help you select your school to a scanner to register who was present where and again to a weight sensitive mattress to make sure you get up in the morning. Afterwards, two of the groups have chosen to keep working on their ideas.
One of the students has described the experience in his own words:
During the last couple of weeks my school has had a cooperation with IBM. It all started with the entire school getting on a bus and going to their workplace where we got short introduction, after which we were separated into the three skills departments of our school. We had some education from some real professionals, and that hour of education were one of the most educational I have ever had. Then we got an assignment. Split into groups of 5-6 people and come up with something that can make boarding school life better. My group and I came up with a number of different ideas but settled at making an app that will help you find the perfect boarding school. And with the help of our own teachers and a lot of feedback from the professionals, I think we came up with something pretty good. It was some hard weeks, every plan we had from the start, had to be washed out so we could pull through. In the end my group pulled through, and we ended up as the winners. Even now my group and I are working on the idea, hoping that one day it can get on the market. Now I just want to thank the IBM group for helping us see an opportunity.
– Rasmus Holmsten Pedersen, 17 years old, student at New Nordic Youth