Science, Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and STEM education have become the focus of considerable political, industry and media commentary. Widespread concern about Australia’s performance in STEM disciplines and take-up of STEM careers has resulted in the development of the National School STEM Education Strategy (Education Council, 2015) that is to be implemented from 2016 – 2026.
In 2014–15, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) conducted a small action research project, the STEM Connections Project. This project was run in conjunction with the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT) and investigated the effectiveness of using an integrated approach to the teaching and learning of STEM disciplines. ACARA and AAMT worked with and supported 13 schools from around the country to develop an integrated STEM project that had its basis in the real world and incorporated the Australian Curriculum learning areas of Mathematics, Science and Technologies. Schools were also encouraged to identify aspects of the Work Studies curriculum and involve one or more industry partners in their project.