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Enlivening STEM education through school-community partnerships
chapterposted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by Russell TytlerRussell Tytler, D Symington, Gaynor Williams, Peta WhitePeta White
A major response to the growing concern with diminishing engagement and participation of students in STEM pathways, in Australia and internationally, has been the involvement of the STEM community in school outreach activities. In Australia there has been a proliferation of links between scientists and schools, with the aim of engaging students in authentic activities and providing models of what STEM work pathways might entail. This chapter will draw on a series of projects studying partnerships between the professional science/mathematics communities and schools, to explore a range of partnership models, the experience and outcomes for students and teachers, and challenges for crossing the boundary between school and STEM professional communities. Such school/STEM community partnerships are particularly suited to studies related to environmental and sustainability issues, a focus explored in the chapter. Further, we will draw on a recent evaluation of the Australia-wide, CSIRO-led Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools (SMiS) program. That study provided insight into the use and outcomes of the SMiS model. We will explore some of the challenges of working across the school-STEM professional practice boundary, implications for curriculum, and differences in partnerships for mathematics compared to science.