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  • STEM Education in Australia

STEM Education in Australian Schools

 

What is STEM? STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths


Dr. Scott Sleap, ME Program Director and author of the NSW Stage 5 iSTEM Curriculum describes it this way:

“In recent years, much has been made of the acronym STEM. It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, however what STEM means is often poorly understood. STEM is about the connections between and amongst the STEM disciplines. It should not be considered in isolation as science relies on engineering, mathematics and technology, and engineering depends on findings from science, the application of mathematics and the use of technological tools."

 

As Scott explains, what separates STEM from traditional science and maths education is the blended learning environment and showing students how the scientific method can be applied to everyday life. It teaches students computational thinking and focuses on the real-world applications of problem solving. This is where Project-based Learning comes in, Edutopia describes PBL as: a dynamic classroom approach in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges and acquire a deeper knowledge.

Robotics offers an excellent tool for building and sustaining STEM interests because students are constantly challenged to solve real-world problems that require critical thinking, collaboration, and innovation using tools that are relevant to them. At Kookaburra we've ensured that you have access to a strong Robotics continuum that will meet the needs of your students, regardless of their age, ability or interest level.

Science and innovation are recognised internationally as key for boosting productivity, creating more jobs, creating better jobs, enhancing competitiveness and growing an economy.

STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines, integrating concepts that are usually taught as separate subjects - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications and emphasises the application of knowledge to real-life situations. What separates STEM from the traditional science and math education is the blended learning environment and showing students how the scientific method can be applied to everyday life. It teaches students computational thinking and focuses on the real-world applications of problem solving. A lesson or unit in a STEM class is typically based around finding a solution to a real-world problem and tends to emphasise project-based learning.

A variation of STEM is STEAM, which includes an 'A' for art and design. Artistic design is becoming an important part of STEM education since creativity is an essential part of innovation. Many STEM lessons involve building models and simulating situations. A good STEM lesson ensures that students understand the connection to the real world.

Let Kookaburra help you navigate the world of Robotics, STEM, Coding, Programming and Makerspace with our fantastic range of Robotics, STEM & Technology Products - we are well-equipped to inform and educate teachers, educators, students and parents in new and emerging technologies that will assist in implementing STEM education in your school.


Our Robotics, STEM and Digital Technology Products

View the brands we range below and click on the buttons for more information


What is Pitsco?

Pitsco has been championing STEM in the USA for more than 40 years through the production of not only exciting products for students to design, build and create but also industry-leading curriculum to provide teachers and students with the support they require to ensure success in the classroom, in competitions and ultimately in the workforce. They have an unwavering focus on developing innovative educational solutions, expanding the company rapidly from a humble dream to a multifaceted corporation with a simple vision: Leading education that positively affects learners. Their mantra ‘Hands-on, Minds-on’ is exactly what STEM is all about.

Every product and curriculum they engineer and develop is deployed for the purpose of helping students to learn, grow and succeed – in the classroom and in life. Students across the world benefit every day from Pitsco’s comprehensive array of highly effective, robust and engaging kits that can be utilized by individual students at all grade levels.

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What is TETRIX®?

Whether you are teaching STEM concepts in the classroom or engineering a robot to beat the competition, TETRIX® Building Systems help you reach your goals. These systems include TETRIX® PRIME and TETRIX® MAX, which work individually and together.

TETRIX® PRIME

Affordable– sets can be used year after year with teams of up to 4 students, and numerous builds can be constructed with just the PRIME Robotics Set.
Simple – easy building and disassembling of a prototype in a single class period.
Versatile – excellent for engineering – quickly test and perform multiple design iterations.
Compatible – with TETRIX® MAX elements – congruent hole patterns and fasteners ensure true integration of elements.
Empowering – ability to integrate with multiple control systems, allows your students to grow as their capabilities do.

TETRIX® MAX

Comprehensive – there are more than 100 elements to choose from, and several builds can be constructed with just the MAX Robotics Set.
Robust – ideal for student competitions – durable for large-scale robots and provides secure connections.
Quality – the robot building system of choice for the FIRST® Tech Challenge.
Compatible – with TETRIX® PRIME elements – congruent hole patterns and fasteners ensure true integration of elements.
Transformational – use real-world tools to learn and apply the engineering design process while boosting problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

Common Features:
  • Both sets include the needed assembly tools and a builder’s guide to give students a confident start.
  • Compatible with LEGO® Technic elements.
  • R/C setups gets robots moving right out of the box – or TETRIX® robots can be controlled by a variety of devices such as PRIZM™, LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 or NXT, National Instruments myRIO, Arduino and more.

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What is Sphero?

The SPRK+ Robot was designed to inspire curiosity, creativity and invention through connected play and coding. However, SPRK+ is far more than just a robot. Powered by the Lightning Lab app, you can easily learn programming, complete hands-on activities, and share your creations with the community. Navigate a maze. Program a painting. Mimic the solar system. Swim across the water. Have a dance party…the only limit is your imagination. A robot ball with several features that can be controlled through mobile apps, including computer programs that the students build. The main features are:
  • Rolling. The Sphero can roll at a given speed and heading for a given amount of time.
  • Colours. The Sphero can light up in any colour.
  • Bluetooth. Sphero connects to devices such an iPads®, iPhones, and Android phones and tablets through wireless Bluetooth connections. This allows the Sphero to be controlled by a number of apps.
  • Programming. After combining commands, see the code and use this as a foundation to learn more about programming.

There’s no rule that says learning shouldn’t be fun, or that playing can’t be valuable. If there is, SPRK Edition was created to break it. SPRK makes the skills of the future approachable and practical. And most importantly, fun!

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What is Edison?

  • Super affordable, programmable educational robotics.
  • Modular and LEGO® robotics compatible.
  • Graphical robot programming software.
  • Modular and easily expandable.
  • Suitable for all ages – From 5 to 95.
The Edison Programmable Robot is for students of all ages and also for both beginner and experienced robotics enthusiasts. You can buy a single robot and learn computer programming just like other robotics systems which can cost much, much more. Edison is a great resource for teachers as classroom sets are now very affordable for schools - it's now possible to have one robot per student. Edison is modular and LEGO®; compatible. It provides a scalable way to build any size robotic invention. There's a lot that one Edison Robot can do. Imagine what your students can do with a team of them working together! Let your students imaginations run wild. Why not make a remote control robot! Edison is great for school education and to teach kids robotics and programming. Lesson plans are provided to help make it easy for teachers to get started.

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What is Ozobot?

Whether you are a seasoned engineer or a primary school student, Ozobot Bit can be as fun or challenging as you make it. Simple and intuitive to use on one side, highly programmable and versatile on the other - there is something for every type of thinker, with this tiny robot. The Ozobot classroom experience is becoming an essential tool in today’s millennial classroom. Take your classroom to the next level of learning with Ozobot. If you can dream it, you can create it with Ozobot - a learning toy that opens the doors of computer science, STEM education, robotics and coding through creative play as endless as a child’s imagination, one game at a time. Empower your students to embrace the future and become a maker of technology, not just a user.

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What is littleBits?

littleBits is a platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks that can be used for creating inventions large and small. They empower you to invent anything, from your own remote controlled car, to a smart home device. The Bits snap together with magnets, no soldering, no wiring, no programming needed.

littleBits encourages students to play and experiment through active experiences, enabling them to construct knowledge that can be applied to real-life situations. littleBits makes it easy for both teachers and students to engage in STEAM by using a universal, 21st-century language: electronic building blocks. We are surrounded by technology every day and yet have little idea how it works or how to create with it. littleBits changes that. The intuitive, colour-coded Bits each have a specific function (i.e. motion, lights, sound, sensors, internet connectivity), and all the Bits snap together with magnets to make larger circuits. Building circuits is simple and intuitive, allowing students to create powerful, sophisticated electronics in a matter of seconds. With an ever-expanding library of Bits, educators and students can grow their collection and engage in increasingly complex projects as their understanding of the system and Bits grows.

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What is Makeblock?

Makeblock is a leading DIY robotics construction and programming learning platform for makers, STEM learners, educators and hobbyists. Makeblock provides over 500 mechanical parts and easy-to-use electronic modules, as well as graphical programming software, empowering people to turn their ideas into reality. Jasen Wang started the company to empower makers, educators and future engineers, in the belief that making and creating in the physical world would enable more people to leverage innovation and technology to grow and compete in the future. Having made a splash in the worldwide robotics market with more than 600,000 makers, students and educators in more than 140 countries, Makeblock is certainly a robotics company on its way to achieving it’s mission - opening the robotics field to people of all skill levels.

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What is Circuit Scribe?

The Circuit Scribe is a rollerball pen that writes with conductive silver ink. It makes creating circuits as easy as doodling. No shaking, no squeezing, no goop, no smell, no waiting for ink to dry - Circuit Scribe draws smooth lines with and allows you to create functioning circuits instantly. Similar to drawing a picture, students can use a Circuit Scribe pen to draw lines on a simple piece of paper. They can then attach special electrical components on the drawn lines which allows the electrical currents to run through the components. This replaces the use of breadboards and wires. Circuit Scribe was made for project based learning. Students can build circuits and switches in their notebooks and use those concepts to get creative!

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What is Bee-Bot?

An award-winning, programmable floor robot. Bee-Bot’s simple and child-friendly layout is a perfect starting point for teaching sequencing, directional language, basic commands and programming to young students. Bee-Bot can be used to help children understand what algorithms are and how simple programs can be created and then executed. Through creative and imaginative play, Bee-bot is a fantastic way to bring technology to life in every subject. Children can set Bee-Bot’s course, as well as design their own adventures for Bee-Bot to take part in. Bee-Bot is great for cross-curricular activities such as digital technology, science, maths, english, geography and history.

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What is MaKey MaKey?

The MaKey MaKey is a simple Invention Kit for the 21st century, suitable for beginners and experts doing art, engineering and everything in between. It is a simple circuit board that lets you reprogram the world by connecting everyday objects to a computer. First setup takes seconds. Start out easy with a banana piano. Then make game controllers, musical instruments and inventions. Advance to female headers and multi-key remapping up to 18 keys.

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What is Hummingbird Duo?

The Hummingbird Robotics Kit is a spin-off product of Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE Lab. Hummingbird is designed to enable engineering and robotics activities for ages 13 and up (age 8+ with adult supervision) that involves the making of robots, kinetic sculptures, and animatronics built out of a combination of kit parts and crafting materials. Combined with very easy-to-use software environments like Scratch, Snap!, the CREATE Lab Visual Programmer and Ardublock, Hummingbird provides a great way to introduce kids to robotics and engineering with construction materials that they are already familiar with. At the same time, Hummingbird continues to provide new challenges by allowing programming in the Arduino environment, Python, Java, and Processing and by supporting Raspberry Pi.

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What is Botley?

Botley™ introduces coding in an easy, friendly way. Children as young as 5 can learn to code with Botley™, and with his advanced features, he’ll grow with them for many play-filled years to come. Botley™ is ready to use right out of the box – he’ll have kids coding in minutes. And that’s not all that makes Botley™ unique; he’s 100% screen-free, and the only coding robot that includes a 45-piece set! Your child will get to learn early STEM skills while playing and having fun. Botley™ teaches the basics of coding through active play, completely screen free. Perfect for promoting critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Completely screen free coding – no phone or tablet required. Botley™ has an easy-to-use remote programmer, which transmits your commands – and off he’ll go! Botley™ can detect objects and be programmed to go around objects with if/then logic. He can also follow looping commands, take on obstacle courses, follow black lines and has hidden features to unlock!

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What is Cozmo?

A gifted little guy with a mind of his own. He’s a real-life robot like you’ve only seen in movies, with a one-of-a-kind personality that evolves the more you hang out. He’ll nudge you to play and keep you constantly surprised. Cozmo’s your accomplice in a crazy amount of fun.

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What is Cubetto?

Cubetto is made up of three separate elements. A friendly wooden robot, a tangible interface board, and 16x instruction blocks that make up a programming language you can touch. The Play Set comes with a charmingly illustrated 1x1m World Map and Story Book that make every play session with Cubetto a unique and memorable adventure.

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What is Kano?

Make your own computers
Build and code technology. Simple books show you how. Connect the bits, boards, and buttons. Bring tablets, wands, sensors, and more to life. Simple, fun, and for everyone.

Learn real code
Step-by-step challenges level you up slowly. Earn rewards as you go. Type code, drag blocks, unlock programming powers. Projects with Python, Javascript, Unix, and more.


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What is Me3D?

Me3D is a Wollongong based education company focused on 3D printing and STEM education. Me3D’s software platform and curriculum-linked learning content allow educators to easily embed 3D printing into the classroom across a range of areas of study and actively encourage students from K-12 to directly manage the technology.

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What is Osmo?

Osmo enables the iPad and iPhone to merge the power of physical play with the digital advantages of real-time feedback. Playing beyond the screen invites students to collaborate on tables or floors while manipulating tangible game pieces such as number tiles, letter tiles, and coding blocks.

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What is Strawbees?

Strawbees is an award-winning, light-weight, construction system for all ages. It is a kit based on simple units called Strawbees, that lets you connect straws to each other and build little to huge mechanical objects from just straws and cardboard. Playing and having fun is the best way to learn about the world, so every classroom should have some Strawbees.

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What is Teknikio?

Make it easy to integrate STEM/STEAM into schools, libraries, makerspaces, camps, afterschool programs and more! The teknikio® bundles come with detailed lessons, vocabulary, ties to standards and extensions. Future problem-solvers need the right tools, let's inspire children of all ages to design with technology.

Read more about Teknikio