Have you ever been told to close your eyes and visualise your future self? Working at your dream job, living your dream life and having a “happy ever after” moment? Visualizing a goal is a powerful way to achieve it.
The problem in STEM industries though, is that many young people, especially young females, don’t visualise themselves in any of the roles pertaining to Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM). As a result, the STEM industry has seen a lack of numbers of skilled workers entering these fields.
Studies have shown that a science identity is as important as an interest in science. Students who can see themselves working in STEM fields are more likely to be the ones who take part in STEM subjects throughout their educational years.
Researchers found that science identity was linked to “a match between school science and real science, consistent extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, and a sense of community and affiliation.” They found that middle school and high school females fared poorly on the measurement for science identity.
What can we do?
The research is clear then. In order for young learners to have a strong science identity and become and stay interested in STEM subjects, they need to be inspired by strong science identities!
Having people around them to influence them and lead them on the path to STEM is a very important factor in making sure that Australia’s STEM roles stay filled.
Positive effects were found when students had good mentor-mentee relationships.
In commonly male-dominated fields like STEM, female students also need to be better encouraged to stay and persevere. They need to feel safe and be shown that women have equal rights and abilities in these fields as well as many others.
Mentors also need to be sensitive to emotional issues in both boys and girls, not just educational ones. As mentors, we also need to be well educated in STEM subjects and continually keep up to date with trends in order to be an example for our younger generation.
STEMmates has always strived for gender equality in STEM. Our specially designed courses and workshops are targeted at both girls and boys from as young as 7 years old.
We hope to support them in their STEM journeys by igniting that science identity spark at an early age. We also encourage any student, regardless of what they might want to do in University or higher education, to take up STEM.
The soft skills that are refined and developed as a result will help them be equipped for the jobs and economy of the future, no matter what field that may be in.
Give your child some support too by signing them up for our courses today. More information can be found on our
Facebook and website pages.
2019 showed us exactly how important STEM – the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – is and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Since 2001, researchers, journalists, politicians and educators have been reminding us about how essential these fields will be for our country and for the world that we know. STEM has been growing by leaps and bounds and gaining a strong foothold in almost every industry around today. There is no more separating STEM from Art, STEM from languages or STEM from culture. STEM is everywhere and we need to empower our future generations in order to cope with the fact that it is not going anywhere.
Predictions for the future
report in 2016 identified some of the trends for STEM industries. They reported that automation and artificial intelligence will continue to advance, jobs will become less rigid due to an increase in technology, entrepreneurial skills will be more prevalent and that education requirements in professionals would increase. The CEO of the Australian Computer Society, Andrew Johnson, predicted that the number of devices connected to the Internet of Things could sky-rocket from 15 billion in 2016 to 200 billion this year, thereby increasing the opportunities for every industry that is connected. However, for industries to take advantage of these opportunities, their workforce must be trained and ready. Johnson also predicted that we will be facing an international STEM skill shortage.
Therefore, we need to get our children ready. Education systems have been racing to keep up with the times, now even offering Cloud Computing, 3D printing and Artificial Reality as programs to school children. Technical knowledge is only one part of the package. Schools also need to equip children with soft skills.
The days of memorising and rote learning have been replaced with a holistic education, hands-on activities and learning through trial and error. There have also been higher importance placed on lifelong learning. Studying doesn’t stop once we walk out of our school doors. Learning has to be continued, and upgrading must become a norm.
As a result, children need to be inspired to grow and to strive to heights higher than we could have imagined in the generations before them. We know that we cannot prepare them sufficiently for what there is to come because we have no idea what to expect.
With all the uncertainty that revolves around our future, STEMmates aims to provide vital support and opportunity for STEM education. Our courses are designed to engage young kids to get passionate and excited about the fundamentals of STEM subjects outside the classroom.
Complex theories are taught by challenging – as well as facilitating and guiding – kids to think critically and creatively in order to find solutions to problems, rather than giving them a textbook and spoon-feeding them information.
STEMmates today about how we cultivate curiosity, imagination and passion for STEM through activity-based, hands-on interactive workshops.
STEMmates has been carrying holiday programs for the last 3 years. Our recent school holiday program focused on aerodynamics and rocketry. These courses can be considered STEAM courses – or the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, plus Art.
These interesting, fun, and hands-on STEAM courses compliment the Earth and Space Science, as well as Physical Science strands of the school Science Curriculum – whilst at the same time giving students the opportunity to make their own artistic designs, as a complement to the Visual Arts strand of the Arts Curriculum.
Aerodynamics is the study of the properties of moving air and the interaction between the air and solid bodies moving through it.
Many people believe that aerodynamics might just be restricted to the aviation industry, but this is not the case. Aerodynamics is also used throughout the fields of aircraft design, automotive, naval and nautical engineering, even architecture.
Buildings are also affected by the way the wind moves around them, which may affect their structural resistance and other components. Certain shapes or features may even result in strange noises, known as Aeolian noise, excessive vibration of the buildings and unnatural pressure situations.
This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental principles of aerodynamics and flight as well as the application of these principles in the design, construction, and operation of small flying model planes & kites.
So many kids dream of growing up to become an astronaut. So, letting them build their own rocket is a great way to get them interested and launch them on that path. The rocketry course gives students a hands-on experience of designing and crafting their very own rocket ship. Students need to figure out solutions and create their rocket using trial and error. They also learn about safety and hazards and how weather and wind affect the flight path.
Both courses cover the historical understandings and development of aerodynamics and rocketry.
Students learn concepts of airflow and lift in the design and construction of paper planes, concepts of prototypes and model testing using the scientific method, concepts of airflow, lift, and torque in the design and construction of kites and rockets made of wood, paper, and plastic and even artistic design considerations of their crafts.
Students even battle their skills against each other in small competitions to see how fast their planes, kites or rockets can move. They are allowed to pit the strengths of their flying machines against one another. In addition, students are encouraged to have a little taste of competition in order to motivate them to strive for the best result. A skill that is so essential for the jobs and economy of the future.
To find out more about our courses that can help your children fly to new heights, visit our
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2019 saw STEM continuing to be an important part of life both here in Australia and around the world. We recognised STEM careers in the
STEM in Schools event with CSIRO in Western Australia, we celebrated STEM Day Out, in Adelaide and the national government decided to continue with ELSA for a second year. We also commemorated inspiring South Australian STEM award winners from 2011-2019 in the STEM Awards. The Coalition Government also launched the Advancing Women in STEM strategy this year to encourage the participation of women in the STEM industry. STEM in 2019 definitely saw some exciting events happening around the country.
STEM for the future
Looking forward to 2020, STEM, the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is definitely on the up! We need to make sure that our youth are prepared for the things that are to come in this rapidly evolving economy. Considering many of today’s parents started our lives without the internet, we can only imagine what the next 30 years will bring.
How then are we able to make sure that the next generation of Australians is future-ready?
Science and technology classes are therefore essential in helping equip our youth with the necessary skills for their future. It also exposes learners to what is commonly referred to as “soft skills” – such as communication, critical-thinking, problem-solving and independent learning through project-based , hands-on activities.
Rather than teaching young learners through rote learning, STEM allows students the ability to learn on their own, under the watchful eyes of teachers. This allows them to absorb their newly learned information and retain that information for a longer period of time. Students are also given the responsibility, autonomy and pride in the work that they do. Working together in groups to solve problems, teaches them teamwork, leadership and social skills.
Our specially designed courses and workshops at STEMmates are aimed at preparing our Australian youth for the futures that we cannot yet imagine.
Our courses are aimed for learners as young as 7 years old and we hope that they will be inspired to continue learning long after their time with us at STEMmates is finished. We hope to add value to the education system of the country and make sure that our future workforce will be ready for anything.
To all the young learners (and their parents) who have worked with us this year: thank you for your support in 2019 and we look forward to
further cultivating curiosity, imagination and passion for STEM in 2020. Season’s Greetings and a very Happy New Year!
The first engineering school in Australia opened in 1861 with 15 students enrolled. From handwritten notes to online lectures and task-based learning, learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) has definitely come a long way. 150 years later, STEM is being recognized around Australia as a force to be reckoned with. Since its humble start, the government has allocated a lot of resources to make sure that STEM subjects are given their due importance.
The Australian government has put aside AUD$64 million as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NIA) to fund STEM initiatives in Australian schools. Some of these initiatives include, Embracing the Digital Age and Inspiring STEM Literacy. They have also put aside $1.5 million to introduce Artificial Intelligence in Schools.
In 2015, the Australian government set up the National STEM School Education Strategy, which is meant to continue until 2026. The Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) is another initiative that was started in 2018 and continued for a second year this year. The program initially targeted 97 preschools, 400 educators and 4000 children around the country and then progressed to 110 preschools in 2019.
The future of STEM in Australia
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that STEM will still be important into the future. They predict that jobs of tomorrow will need problem solving skills, digital skills and creative thinking. With the amount of money that the Australian government has put into STEM in recent years, it is definitely a worthwhile investment.
Today, many universities and STEM related industries see life-long learning as an imperative skill. They have coined the term, ‘micro-credentialing’ – where people need to go back to school for shorter courses but have to constantly upgrade themselves to keep up with the trends. As technology changes rapidly and continues to become more and more complex, employees too, need to constantly upgrade themselves.
STEMmates for the future
STEMmates is proud to be one of the beacons of STEM in Australia. We endeavor to make sure that every child that comes to our courses is inspired and encouraged to continue their STEM journey.
Our hands-on classes and activity-based workshops are designed to spark excitement in the eyes of our young learners. Our courses also teach students essential soft skills that are crucial for their future lives. Our aim is to get them ‘career-ready’, even when they are as young as 7 years old.
We can only imagine what lies ahead for the future of STEM. But we need to make sure that our children hit the ground running. Make sure that your child is prepared for what lies ahead.
Sign up for our holiday programs and classes for 2020 on our
website and Facebook pages today!
Girl Up was founded by the United Nations in 2010 and since then has been working through projects around the world to achieve gender equality. They have created various ways in which people internationally can come together and defend the rights of females. Some of their programs include advocacy, fundraising, leadership and STEAM and STEM workshops. STEM – the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – and STEAM are almost identical in their pursuit, though the latter includes the Arts as well. The Girl Up movement hopes to encourage girls into careers in the technology industries.
Girl Up in Australia
The global movement had its first Australian summit in September 2019 in Sydney at The Women’s College. Ashleigh De Silva, Girl Up’s first regional leader, stated that the movement started in Sydney in 2018 and currently holds over 300 members. With an
interview with CIO magazine, De Silva stated, “Girl Up is really passionate about getting girls into STEM because that’s something that’s been very male dominated for a very long time. So it’s great to get girls into that industry – it starts from the grassroots when girls are still in school and it’s important to foster that interest.”
Event speaker, Eliza Dawes, head of marketing for GitHub APAC, challenged summit attendees by asking, “So why choose something like STEM? If you want to change gender equality or fight climate change, STEM gives you the skills where you can actually do something about it. Without science or the ability to look at the data and collaborate with your colleagues, it’s difficult to really make an active change. There are lots of ways to do it, but STEM gives you the ability to create change in the world and solve problems.”
Australian girls in STEM
Australia’s STEM population is
greatly made up of males. Women comprised only 17% of the qualified STEM population in 2016 and made up only 31% of the total number of STEM academics in 2016. Only 18% of Biology professors are female and this trend also continues in Engineering, seeing only 12.4% of the workforce there as female. The IT industry also is facing a similar issue with females making up 28% of the workforce in 2017.
STEMmates for girls in STEM
Like Girl Up, STEMmates hopes to encourage learners of all genders to defend gender equality and to become involved in STEM subjects. Through our hands-on courses and activity-based learning, we hope to spark an interest in young learners that will continue with them late into their careers. Get your child involved in our STEM courses today through our
Facebook and website pages. Because when girls rise, we all rise!
The Australian government recently announced changing its entry requirements for foreigners applying for a skilled worker visa to gain employment or permanent residency in Australia. The
legislation now allows applicants to be awarded 5 extra points if they have certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications. Some of these qualifications include biological sciences, civil engineering, information technology and physics and astronomy. These changes are likely to have positive effects in terms of addressing the current STEM skills shortage in Australia and were made after the 2016 Migrant Intake into Australia report. This decision was made to maximise benefits to Australia’s economy and now allows the country to select the brightest professionals from all over the world for permanent residency.
Do we think that these changes are drastic? Or that they are imperative?
Australia has been facing a crisis in terms of the numbers of students and workers being interested in or finding employment in STEM industries. Surveys and articles over the last few years have warned us of Australia’s lack of qualified students and teachers in STEM fields.
For example, in 2014, we were told that Australia was facing a
math crisis where just one in ten students were choosing to study higher math in year 12. They also found that girls were less motivated to study math and science than boys, and this trend had already been continuing for 10 years. In the same article, Rachel Wilson, a researcher from the University of Sydney mentioned that “Australia is quite possibly the only developed nation on the planet that does not make it compulsory to study maths in order to graduate from high school.” Years later, this has still not changed.
Surveys showed that children from Sweden, Japan, Korea, Russia, Finland, Taiwan and Estonia, where math was made compulsory until the end of high school, were found to be better than Australian students in mathematics. Statistics also showed that these children were likely to choose STEM-related qualifications after leaving school. This clearly will make them far better equipped for the roles of the jobs of the future than our own Australian children and unfortunately, local employers will have to find international alternatives to solve the lack of skilled labour.
We need a fix
STEMmates is here to help be part of the solution! Our hands-on, activity-based, courses are designed to get children excited about STEM subjects at an early age. Through problem-solving and critical thinking, students are able to learn why STEM subjects are important and they also learn essential soft skills such as communication and teamwork. Get your child involved in Australia’s STEM solution today. Visit our
Facebook and website pages to find out more.
Creativity is defined as, “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.” It used to be associated with the arts and related to people with artistic orientation.
Today, creativity has found its way into every industry and it is a skill that is looking to gain more and more importance into the future. Being able to find creative ways to solve problems especially is going to be a skill that many employers will seek in candidates for job positions.
How creative are we?
Adobe did a survey, asking 2000 people around the world what they thought about how prepared students were for this rise in the need for creative problem-solving skills.
They found that 97% of educators and 96% of policymakers saw a need for creative problem solving to be learned in schools. 86% of educators and 85% of policymakers reported that students with better creative problem-solving skills would eventually have higher-paying jobs in the future. They also found that 69% of educators and 61% of policymakers thought that schools and the curriculum they follow, are not placing enough emphasis on children learning this crucial skill. They saw only a 12% emphasis on students learning conflict management and innovative thinking skills
The main issue concerns a lack of creativity being taught in schools. In another
article, 73% of teachers said that they spend too little time picking out what to teach in class, 44% said they don’t demonstrate in creative ways and 43% said that they don’t try new ways to teach. Is school culture then limiting the creativity of both our teachers and students
STEMmates is creative!
STEMmates encourages creativity in all our courses. Students use problem-solving methods to figure out complex theories and gain new knowledge in our courses.
These specially designed courses, therefore, appeal to even younger children even though the concepts may be difficult. For example, we teach aerodynamics to children as young as 7 years old.
They learn through creative methods, such as hands-on activities and independent learning. We also encourage students to learn in groups, where they learn how to argue their points with their peers and their teachers, finding solutions for problems together. Learning through success and failure, students are able to learn how to think analytically. Help your child find his creative spark! Register your interest in our next set of courses by visiting our
website or Facebook pages, today.
Failure is usually defined as a lack of success. Not being able to succeed in a certain venture or attempt at something. Unfortunately, failure comes with a lot of negative connotations, so much so, that we don’t want it anywhere in our lives. But, is this reasonable?
Many self-help books talk about failure, but most importantly, the positive side of something as negative as this. Let’s look at the plethora of bumper stickers, motivational posters and inspirational quotes that talk about failure in a positive light. “Failure is the key to success” and “If at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again”. These are very commonly known lines that have been used as encouragement when one has not performed so well. And these are the connotations that should accompany failure. Not those of disheartenment and giving up.
Failure in STEM
Students in Australia have been dropping out of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects for fear of failure. They assume that these subjects are too difficult, and therefore, would rather choose an easier path to score well in examinations. This year saw
high-level math enrolments drop to its lowest number in 20 years. A study done on 2000 students from 12-25 years old, saw many of them having very low confidence levels in math and considering engineering a “hard” subject. This was especially so among females. This aversion to STEM subjects due to their perceived difficulty and possible cause of failure is a big reason why students are steering clear of these in schools and for their later careers.
Encouraging the failure
As adults, educators, parents and guardians, as strange as this will sound, we need to be advocates for failure. We need to promote these truisms, that “success taught me nothing, failure taught me everything!”. We have to show the younger generation that failure is essential to becoming successful later in life, and STEM subjects are just an example of all of the hardships that they may encounter, and then eventually thrive from. The more children know that it is okay to fail, the more they will simply want to try. Difficult subjects in school, along with examinations and tests, are just the first hurdles they will have to leap over.
Success with STEMmates
STEMmates courses are designed to teach young learners that failure (or the fear of it) is not something that should stop someone from having a go. Instead, we focus on allowing learners to develop using problem-solving and critical analysis, rather than rote learning. Learners are encouraged to not give up and try again – figuring out complexed assignments through trial and error methods and communicating, both with their teachers and with each other. This also eventually helps them to retain their new knowledge a lot longer and, hopefully, keep them interested in STEM way into their future.