Connecting STEM and First Nations culture
Gleeson College students have tapped into their creative talents to improve STEM engagement with First Nations children.
As part of the ‘Make a Difference’ project run by Catholic Education SA, a group of STEM students at the Golden Grove school have developed unique kits that link Dreamtime stories with STEM-focused activities. Students at St Joseph’s Payneham and Keithcot Farm Primary were the first to participate in the project.
Nicholas Polvere, STEM teacher at St Joseph’s, said it was great to see the reaction from the Year 3 and 5 students who tested two kits.
“From their expressive faces we could see they were excited, highly engaged, and proud of their hands-on learning that showcases the brilliant STEM in First Nations culture,” he said.
As part of the content, students listened attentively to the Dreamtime story How the Birds got their Colours and then explored an activity called ‘How the black Texta got its colour’. They learnt that chromatography could separate the black Texta into its colour components, similar to how the black dove in the Dreamtime spread its internal rainbow colours to all the birds of today.
Another activity was the ‘Make a Yipirinya grow’ which follows a Dreamtime story with the students designing and making their yipirinya (or caterpillar). As the caterpillar twists and weaves when brought to life with water, they learnt about capillary action – encouraging the STEM mindset.
Keithcot Farm Primary teacher Ela Colangelo shared the kits with several STEM classes.
“All three classes that engaged with these kits were fully immersed with the activities, with the children asking deep questions about both their scientific learning and First Nation cultural connections,” she said.
“Gleeson College should be very proud of the students who created these resources. Not only are these kits engaging classroom activities, but they are a proactive step to connecting First Nations children and culture with STEM.”Jump to next article
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