EN­COUR­AG­ING MATHS AND SCIENCE AT SCHOOL

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Local Politicians Say - by David El­liott, Mem­ber for Baulkham Hills

I am pleased the NSW Gov­ern­ment is mov­ing to en­gage younger stu­dents in STEM (science, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics) sub­jects by train­ing fu­ture pri­mary school teach­ers as science and maths spe­cial­ists.

Pri­mary teach­ers are cur­rently trained as gen­er­al­ists in a range of sub­jects. From this year, in a NSW first, teach­ing stu­dents from at least three NSW uni­ver­si­ties can be­come STEM spe­cial­ists by elect­ing to study ad­di­tional maths and science cour­ses.

Em­ploy­ers want work­ers that are skilled in maths and science, so we want to give our stu­dents the con­fi­dence to study these sub­jects at their high­est pos­si­ble level.

The new pri­mary teach­ing course re­quire­ments were de­vel­oped by the Board of Stud­ies, Teach­ing and Ed­u­ca­tional Stan­dards (BOSTES) in con­sul­ta­tion with teach­ers, teacher ed­u­ca­tors and the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor.

The first group of grad­u­ates with a spe­cial­i­sa­tion in maths and science will be el­i­gi­ble to teach in NSW schools from the end of 2017.

The NSW Lib­er­als & Na­tion­als Gov­ern­ment is also rolling out 16 new re­sources to help im­prove the teach­ing of STEM sub­jects in schools across the state.

The re­sources in­clude:

• Seven new STEM les­son units for K-12, in­clud­ing a ‘cod­ing’ unit which teaches stu­dents to use code to chore­o­graph dance and move­ment;

• Eight new Science and Tech­nol­ogy ac­tiv­i­ties for K-6, in­clud­ing “Game Plan” where stu­dents de­sign, build and test a game based on elec­tri­cal cir­cuits; and

• A guide to sup­port the use of cod­ing as a teach­ing tool to solve prob­lems within ex­ist­ing sub­jects.

The NSW Gov­ern­ment is also in­vest­ing $20 mil­lion dur­ing this term of Gov­ern­ment to up­grade 50 science labs in NSW pub­lic schools.

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