Georgie thinks it is unacceptable that some learning styles, strengths and intelligences are valued over others. Unfortunately, at the start of the program reading and writing were the only true measure of achievement, resulting in some students’ strengths being overlooked or even dismissed. This was confounded by some staff being resistant to suggested changes. Georgie believes in a school where all literacies, intelligences and talents are valued and equal, and she set about to make this a reality.
The key to Georgie’ initiative was having students learn through meaningful doing. She’s working on a three year funded program, but Georgie’s done a lot already!
Working with the Ballarat Environment Network, Georgie established a team of girls with a variety of skills who are studying the endangered Spiny Pimelea plant on their local common. The girls monitor their own quadrant and have worked through transects of the common to locate, identify, measure, sex, count, tag and GPS locate the Pimelea plants.
The girls have almost completed the first stage of an augmented reality website: they designed QR code 3D printed tags which they attached to plants in the common so that passers-by can scan the codes and view the website, which contains information about the specific plant.
So far Georgie’s initiatives have positively impacted 17 students. Five of those involved now believe they have STEM futures. A further two girls who are trying to join the team have improved their PAT test results by 29 percentile points.
“Ruby is in Grade 4. She is a mad keen farmer. Ruby has written literacy difficulties. She really wants to be a Blue Devil [name of team] and has pushed through her difficulties to improve her science book work by a year and a half this semester. Next year se will be the newest member of our team.”
Like the idea?
Georgie would love your support for Uncommon STEM Learning, or for you to start a similar program in your school, and she’d love to hear about any ideas you have or lend a hand where she can. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with Georgie and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer her on in the comments below as well.
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