High Possibility STEM Classrooms
Integrated STEAM learning allows students to be less restrictive in their thinking, in their ways of working and in their ways of being – and to be in the best position to solve real-world problems. Dr. Jane Hunter is the creator of the concept of High possibility STEM classrooms and has published two books which explore the research that underpins the approach. See here for more information.
Representation Construction Approach
Earth Scientists use a range of visual forms including drawing, modelling, and graphical work to imagine new relations, test ideas and elaborate knowledge. Over the last decade the Deakin STEM Education team has been actively exploring an inquiry approach to teaching and learning science in which students actively construct representations as a central aspect of learning See here for more information.
The Outdoor Classroom
In the Australian Curriculum, Outdoor Learning is described as an opportunity to ‘develop skills and understandings while valuing a positive relationship with natural environments and promoting the sustainable use of these environments’ (ACARA 2020). ‘Hands-on’ and interactive learning experiences are important drivers of student engagement. Kolb’s (1984) ‘Theory of Experiential Learning’, derived from constructivism, states that ‘learning occurs when students use hands-on task-oriented activities and relate previous knowledge in a contextual way to real life examples’ (Jose et. al. 2017, p. 270). See here for more information.
Place-Based Learning Communities
Geography and Earth and Environmental Science Education in both the Primary and Secondary setting have strong synergies with Place-Based Education methodologies and aims. Place-based Education places great importance on the integration of indoor (classroom, lab, computer and geospatial technologies) and outdoor (fieldwork) learning environments within developmentally appropriate spaces. A child aged four until about seven is concerned entirely with their homes, their back yards and the school yard. A child aged eight until about twelve becomes immersed in their local parks, forests waterways and neighbourhood streets. After twelve children become interested in cities and global communities.
Early developers of the place-based education model are Gruenewald (2003), Orr (1992, 1994), Smith (2002), Sobel (1996, 2004), Theobald (1997), and Woodhouse and Knapp (2000). See Sobel’s website for more information.