ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science Dean Professor Elanor Huntington today helped to launch a new national program for Australian primary school teachers: Engineering is Elementary.
The program is delivered by Questacon, The National Science and Technology Centre, with the support of principal partner The Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Engineering is Elementary will train and equip primary school teachers to deliver fun and engaging engineering content, aligned to the Australian science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum.
The three-year partnership includes workshops across all states and territories. Through hands-on experience, participants will learn how to implement activities in their classroom and discuss challenges.
The program will also give teachers an opportunity to network with like-minded colleagues and develop professional learning communities.
Speaking at the ‘Growing Australia’s STEM capability’ launch event in Melbourne, Professor Huntington said that student’s attitudes to STEM are largely developed in primary school.
“Research tells us the majority of young people have a very low understanding of engineering. As a community, we need to encourage and enable young Australians to ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve. We want them to consider and explore how things work, are built, and created,” she said.
Professor Huntington said that educating teachers in STEM would create “a multiplying effect, benefiting all of the students these educators teach”.
“Increased exposure to engineering and its real world applications will boost young Australians’ confidence and expectations of what they can achieve through engineering,” she said.
Professor Huntington, who has been a member of the Questacon Advisory Council since 2019, is excited about the new opportunity to bring STEM to young minds across the country.
“This is about bringing exciting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to the classroom and enabling young Australians to consider where it could take them,” she said.