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During Term 2, Orange Anglican Grammar School students of Years 7 and 8 have been tasked with developing plans for a new school library. Students were presented with the design brief by the Headmaster, requiring final designs of the new library to be based on shipping container modules and be achievable within a stated budget.

The secondary school has developed this innovative unit of work in partnership with the University of Sydney’s STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy. This project has involved students tackling a real world problem using skills and knowledge from the STEM disciplines of Science, Technology and Mathematics. They have utilised surveys, scientific experiments, research, guest speakers as well as explicit teaching to investigate features that contribute to the successful conversion of shipping containers to buildings.

The project enables students to work both within and across STEM disciplines to prepare them to participate meaningfully in a rapidly changing world. In recent years, STEM related careers have grown at 1.5 times the rate of other jobs1. It is essential that our students are prepared to meet the needs of a future workforce. STEM projects support students in developing the critical thinking, collaborative, creative and communicative skills valued by employers.

Students have thrown themselves into this project with an abundance of enthusiasm and have been inspired by the opportunity to make a real difference to their school community. Today the students exhibited their designs for the library and discussed their plans and the process that led to the end product.

  1. Australian Government, Industry Employment Projections 2015 Report; ABS Perspectives on Education and Training: Australian qualifications in STEM, 2010-11, Cat. 4250.0.55.005.

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