In week 8 of this term, twenty of our Year 8 students graduated from the STEM Innovate program run by the Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN). ABCN partners schools with business. Our students were fortunate to be mentored by some brilliant STEM professionals from Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC). PwC mentors worked with students to complete a series of STEM-based challenges across four different workshops. PwC mentors also spent time at each session speaking with their small student groups about the challenges and rewards involved in a wide range of STEM-based careers. Student feedback collected by ABCN showed that the STEM Innovate program significantly improved students recognition of their creatively thinking capacity and their ability to communicate their ideas with others. Students also reported increased confidence in their learning and an increased desire to continue studying STEM subjects in the future. Some of the student comments in reflecting on the most important thing that they learnt from their mentors were:

“To think really outside the box, don’t be afraid to try something wacky”

“How to collaborate with my team and not be nervous or embarrassed of my ideas”

“Creativity and problem solving, as well as enthusiasm and patience.”

“That it’s ok not to get everything perfect and that every idea counts.”

We would like to thank Cathy Torjul from ABCN for organising and running the program and the STEM mentors for the expertise and enthusiasm that they applied engaging our students in authentic and valuable STEM learning. Thank you also to the teachers who accompanied students into PwC for the sessions.