Making IT Matter

Harnessing your gifts and talents to help others is an integral part of contributing to humanity.

Our Year 3 students recently embarked on a STEM Project which saw them raise much needed funds for the Sydney Children’s Hospital.  

Mrs Koula Athos, Year 3 Teacher explains:

“Stage 2 Teachers are currently working with the Sydney University STEM Academy to implement new STEM based initiatives within their classrooms. The Year 3 Teachers decided to design and implement a Level 3 Integrated STEM project which integrated 2-3 disciplinary characteristics of STEM. They choose to focus on Science, Digital Technology and Mathematics. The goal of this project was to present the students with a real-life problem that required them to use the STEM Design Process and their Science content knowledge to generate a solution. They wanted the project to be student directed, valuing student ideas and creativity, as well as evidence based reasoning. Critical thinking, creativity, communication and self-direction would be key to the success of this endeavour.

At the beginning of Term 3, the students were told of the needs of the children at the Sydney Children’s Hospital and how the Junior School in previous years had raised funds for the Hospital. The Teachers organised for the students to skype-interview the Play Therapist at the Hospital to identify the specific needs of the children. This created in our students a desire to raise more funds than ever before.

Figure 1: Adapted STEM Design Process

The Teachers then set the students the challenge of finding a way to effectively raise money for the Sydney Children’s Hospital that involved the Junior School but also embedded their knowledge from the Science unit on Material World.

The Year 3 students naturally began to follow the STEM Design Process. They recognised that they needed to know what their users, the Junior School students, would need and want (Empathise Phase) and began to generate and research various options that met the set criteria (Define and Ideate Phase).  As a cohort, they decided they wanted to sell food products that involved using the force of heat to change solids and liquids, thereby applying their scientific understandings. They used their Mathematical skills to conduct surveys of the Junior School, collect and analyse data which led them to conclude that a mufti-movie day at which their products could be purchased was the strongest idea (Redefine Phase).

It was at this point, the students realised that they were really going to put their ideas into action and their excitement was palpable. They entered the Create Phase of the project.

In Maths lessons students worked in collaborative groups to calculate the quantities of resources to meet their sales targets. In these groups they then used their ICT skills to begin their advertising campaigns by video-recording advertisements and creating digital slides and brochures. These were displayed around the Junior School and during Assembly. Every child was involved in preparing food and drink products including a S’mores slice and jelly cups. Parents kindly volunteered goods, baking skills and time to bring the project together.

On the final day of Term, Year 3 hosted their STEM fundraiser (Show Phase). They set up stalls, packaged and sold their products and played a movie. At the beginning of Term 4, students will be given the opportunity to reflect and evaluate their project (Reflect Phase). These reflections will be passed onto future students undertaking the project as a guide to  help them in their STEM journey.

We are thrilled to announce that Year 3 joyfully raised over $1,800 for the Sydney Children’s Hospital, which will be used to purchase games, craft items and Occupational Therapy resources for the children in the Hospital.”

The Year 3 Teachers are looking forward to showcasing their successful STEM project at the Sydney University STEM Academy in November and are hoping to inspire other schools to undertake similar STEM projects.