STEAM Day: Problem Solving with the RSPCA Darwin
Success in the workplace, no matter what industry, requires people to apply a variety of skills and creative thinking to solve problems and deliver outcomes. How students learn today needs to prepare them to be successful in tomorrow’s workplace. That’s what the Larrakeyah Primary STEAM teaching philosophy is all about. The integration of STEAM across school programs has led to innovative events like The Whole School STEAM Day, which gives students a unique opportunity to practice problem solving in a real world industry context.
The RSPCA challenge
The Whole School STEAM Day sees all students participate in activities to explore, design and prototype solutions to tackle a real world challenge.
This year, Larrakeyah Primary partnered with the RSPCA Darwin to present students with this challenge:
It gets really hot in the build-up wet and wet season, how can we keep the animals at our shelter cooler?
Students from all year levels were asked to design a solution.
STEAM and 21st Century Learning
STEAM remains a core focus for Larrakeyah Primary. Over the past 4 years, the STEAM program has been embedded throughout our teaching and learning programs.
This year, Larrakeyah Primary won the Australian Education Award for ‘Best STEM Program’, in recognition of the 4 year journey to integrating 21st Century Learning with best practices in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM).
The Whole School STEAM Day is a fantastic example of the STEAM philosophy at Larrakeyah Primary resulting in unique and innovative events for students.
On the Whole School STEAM Day
On the day, Toni and Rachael, volunteers from the RSPCA Darwin, and some furry friends briefed students on the challenge, why it was important, and helped students to connect with the issue.
Students engaged with different activities and technologies to understand the problem. For example, students used Virtual Reality (VR) technology to ‘visit’ the animal shelters and build empathy for the animal’s situation.
Integrating the 4Cs (creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills), students undertook an ‘Amazing Race’ style activity that presented code-breaking challenges to reveal clues and information about the problem at different locations around the school.
Once students had a sound understanding of the problem and context, they came up with ideas for potential solutions. Their favorite ideas were then turned into prototypes – using a range of materials, tools, and technology. For example, prototypes were created inside Makers Empire, a 3D modeling computer program, so they could be 3D printed at a later stage.
At the conclusion of the STEAM Day, teams presented their prototypes to their class and a winning design was voted on. The winning design from each class was then presented to the RSPCA Darwin.
The STEAM Day was a fun and valuable experience for students, and the school would like to thank Danni Mattiazzo, STEAM Co-ordinator, and the RSPCA Darwin for making the event such a success.