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What is it?
Real-world problem-solving is more than demonstrating examples in a classroom. It’s about moving away from the textbooks to connect the concepts to the real world. Teachers apply contemporary STEM knowledge to guide students through investigating and tackling an existing challenge or need. For example, it could be designing a greenhouse for the school garden, working with industry or designing a solution to a local council problem.
How does it help?
Real-world problem-solving promotes:
- The relevance of STEM education and its connection with the ‘real world’ after school e.g. careers and education opportunities. This can increase student interest and engagement in STEM.
- Active critical-thinking and problem-solving.
- Access to STEM experts and real work environments. This enhances student learning experiences and sparks student interest and engagement.
- STEM education that resembles authentic STEM practice in industry. This can help students understand the realities of the world of the work.
How do you do it?
- Partner with experts or professionals through school-industry partnerships to provide examples/challenges/contexts.
- Gather real examples from local community e.g. local council.
Want to know more?
- Partnering with scientists boosts school students’ and teachers’ confidence in science - The Conversation
- The Australian Industry Group Strengthening School - Industry STEM Skills partnerships - Final Project Report (Page 40)
Case study: Banksia Park International High School and BTG Australasia
Banksia Park International High School in South Australia partnered with BTG Australasia for an extended real world STEM project for Year 8 students. This involved a student visit to BTG’s laboratories, a four-week group project on contamination avoidance in BTG labs and presentations to a panel of BTG employees and other external panellists. The project exposed students to how STEM skills can be applied to a real-world industry problem. It challenged students to think both critically and creatively. It also linked to curriculum learning areas in mathematics, science and technologies. Both the school and BTG were impressed with the enthusiasm and growth of students and were eager to further the partnership.