A Growing STEM between Katamatite and Yarrawonga
It’s early days yet but a collaborative approach is taking shape in the Goulburn Valley.
Two schools — Katamatite Primary and Sacred Heart Primary in Yarrawonga — have been steadily building a partnership in STEM learning, with hopes they’ll eventually develop a shared curriculum that will, ultimately, spawn genuine collaboration between students from neighbouring towns.
Katamatite Primary Principal Jason Whiteley says the partnership was initially born from convenience; he co-ordinates his school’s STEM curriculum and his wife, Melanie, does the same for Sacred Heart.
But, he says, what the students attain from the partnership is a great deal more than expediency.
“Yes, it was a convenient beginning — me and Mel trying to outdo each other with ideas for science experiments over dinner — but if you really think about it, convenience is one of the core aims for small schools forming collaborative partnerships,” Mr Whiteley said.
“If we can help each other on the path to a strong curriculum then we are helping each other to deliver quality education for our students and that’s the end game, isn’t it?”
The STEM collaboration involves all year levels from both schools but is tailored by each teacher to suit their respective school setting.
“For example, last week we did a pretty cool experiment trying to build things out of floam slime,” Mr Whiteley said.
“For Mel it was a project with her Grade Five and Six kids but for me, I only have two classrooms — Foundation to Grade Two and then Grade Three to Six — so I had a broader age range to consider but less students actually involved in the experiment.
“Between the schools we create a bit of competitive spirit — as teachers we share our results and compare our processes and, of course, the kids relish the competitive side of it, even though they’re comparing results with kids sitting in another school in another town whom they’ve probably never met.
“Unfortunately, on this occasion, Sacred Heart were the project winners but Mel and I have been discussing a marshmallow catapult experiment and I reckon we would do well with that — we could go to war.”