Using real-world context in science and STEM


October 27th, 2017

I have always been passionate about both children’s education and global issues, so it’s a bit of a no brainer to me that where possible children’s learning should be set within a real-world, global context.  Happily this is also something that both the new science and D & T curricula in the UK are encouraging, so there is more reason that ever before for teachers to use this approach.

In addition to making subjects more relevant and engaging Global Learning fosters respect for others, cultural awareness, empathy and a desire to make a difference to the world…all important values for the future generation, and the skills employers are looking for in a globalised society.

For many years now at Practical Action our schools team have been producing resources that fit the UK science and D & T curriculum, but are also flexible enough to be used in STEM/science clubs, off-time-table days, transition and more. Our resources can also be used to gain a CREST award from the British Science Association, or as part of the Eco-schools initiative

Most popular are our STEM challenges, which challenge pupils to find a STEM solutions to a global issues e.g. how to grow crops on land prone to flooding ( Floating garden challenge), gaining access to clean water and hand washing facilities ( Stop the spread) and what to do with waste plastics (Plastics challenge).

Teachers around the UK are including our material in their planning, not just because they raise awareness of global issues and help develop those vital values and skills but also because they engage and motivate young people, and increase their interest in STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.

So, if you are a teacher and have not tried our materials with your class before then why not:Plastics challenge

  • Take a look at our documents showing where our resources fit the UK science curriculum and choose one to make your lesson more engaging.
  • Try out a STEM challenges in your STEM/science club
  • Look at which resources can be used to gain a CREST award and maybe entered into the Big Bang Fair competition

If you do use any of our materials with your pupils please let us know…we love feedback!

I will be hosting an #ASEChat on Monday 30th October 8-9pm UK time, on this subject so please do join me to share any ideas or resources you may have that have worked for you…and to pick up some new ones.

To keep in touch you can also follow me on twitter @julieBrown01, and  FaceBook  and sign up to our STEM Matters newsletter.

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