St Aloysius Catholic Primary School shows off STEM skills with innovation to match

Making learning fun is being taken to a whole new level at St Aloysius Catholic Primary School Cronulla.

Alongside the traditional subjects of English, history and geography, children are putting their energies into weekly real-world problem solving - and the benefits are showing.

The school hosted its STEM showcase this week - a program of projects that highlight the scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical skills of working little brains.

Children also learn to code, create treehouse designs and work with earth and space animations.

A valuable part of the exercise is getting feedback from an audience, and so they invite parents to see their creations come alive in person.

Principal Elizabeth Ovens says the STEM showcase is for everyone.

"Unlike many schools, we have not brought a few high tech resources and taught STEM skills like coding to the brightest," she said.

"Our model is whole school STEM learning. It is very much embedded into our curriculum, but is driven by real world problem solving experiences, collaborative work and creative opportunities."

All project aim to directly benefit the community. For instance, year 3 pupils have been making a new garden/hive to introduce stingless bees into the playground. Other children design and make a solution to minimise the effects of erosion on the Cronulla coastline.

The school's latest project is to work closely with Sutherland Shire Council and Sydney Water as part of a recycled water initiative.

Using Skype, pupils directly chat with experts from the desalination plant and golf course to design and make a digital system that can alert greenkeepers when the water level is too high and the salinity of the water is unsuitable for use.

"We take advantage of industry professionals," Mrs Ovens said. "Professional bodies are keen to engage with younger students to solve problems."

Outside of classroom walls, the world of STEM is gaining solid pace.

A 2019 analysis of labour force data by the Department of Jobs and Small Business shows that jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics related occupations are growing significantly faster than other occupations.

Between November 2013 - November 2018, employment in STEM occupations grew by 16.5 per cent, which is 1.6 times higher than the growth rate in non-STEM jobs.

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