ACARA’s STEM Connections project aimed at investigating a cross-disciplinary approach to the teaching of STEM disciplines. In collaboration with the Australian Association of Mathematics teachers, ACARA supported 13 schools from around the country to develop an integrated STEM project that had its basis in the real world and incorporated the Australian Curriculum learning areas of Mathematics, Science and Technologies. While the project was implemented before the publication of the National STEM School Education Strategy, it addressed the strategy’s first goal and, in part, each of the strategy’s five key areas for national action.

The STEM Connections report, illustrations of practice and work samples available on this page are products of the project. The illustrations of practice explore the experiences of five of the participating schools and the work samples provide examples of integrated STEM tasks.

The interdisciplinary nature of STEM in these projects is evident. While annotations for work samples have been identified as one or other of the Australian Curriculum STEM learning areas (Science, Technologies, Mathematics), it is important to note that the skill is often developed in all three. As engineering is addressed across the curriculum through Science, Technologies and Mathematics and in a dedicated content description focusing on engineering principles and systems at each band in Design and Technologies, content relating to engineering is identified under the most appropriate Australian Curriculum learning area for each project.

You will find a link to the STARportal below. The STARportal is Australia’s national portal for exciting and engaging STEM activities from around the country. This searchable database connects parents, students and teachers with their local and online STEM activities in real time.

Further work on STEM Connections has been undertaken as part of ACARA’s Digital Technologies in focus project. The new additions include: a critiquing checklist; additional vodcasts from the original project; reflective podcasts and a new F-2 Illustration of practice. Further illustrations of practice Years 3-8 are planned.

STEM work sample portfolios