There were 500 people who had put their names down within less than 24 hours and we knew that there was lots of interest out for this event. The crowd began flowing in at 5pm, ready for the event to kick off at 5.30. We didn't quite get the whole 500 turn up, but the crowd definitely was full of teachers who were keen to learn and network around the idea of STEM and how we could use the Easter Show and their vendors with our students.
Brett started proceeding before Zeina talked about how she used the Easter Show as a problem-based learning activity with her students in an iSolve project. The students had to work out how much money they'd need for a day at the show as well as whether the show bags they wanted to buy were value for money. They also needed to use the Show's website to determine their itinerary for the day, including travel to and from the venue.
To change up the pace a little, I ran a quick 6 question Kahoot about 'The W's of STEM' - basically who, what, where, when and why we should do STEM with our students. STEM is the use of skill sets from the science, technology, engineering and maths disciplines to solve real world problems. Students can be introduced to STEM as young you are keen to by teaching them about the world around them. Also, teachers (especially primary school teachers) need to understand that you can run a STEM class anywhere in schools - you don't need a specialised laboratory to run these types of programs.
After me, Maggie talked Minecraft. Minecraft is an online game that, even if you haven't heard about it, your students definitely have!!! Maggie explored the possibilities of having students use Minecraft to learn about agriculture by building farms, working out the best way to look after farm animals, etc. Maggie has used Minecraft in the past to create AMAZING projects looking at the ANZAC landing as well as the Gold Rush.
Our 'regional NSW' #aussieED member, Rob, then talked 'STEM out of the City' and in particular talked about Digital Sparks as well as an amazing project he did with his daughter. Together they created and coded an electric guitar out of everyday household items (along with some wires, buttons, etc)! The audience was blown away to see that children as young as 8, as well as GIRLS (*gasp*) were interested in coding. Rob is doing some AMAZING things with the students that he teaches in an area of Newcastle, located north of Sydney.
The rest of the evening was spent in a 'Trident Challenge' where attendees were given a series of challenges to complete while investigating the vendors available in the Woolworths Food Farm at the Show. We had lots of people sharing and posting on Twitter (even though Telstra wasn't playing nice!) and ended up getting the #RASedu hashtag trending around Australia. It was great to see so many new teachers join Twitter that night as well as face to face networking take place. There really was a great buzz in the air.
The #aussieED team would like to then the #RASedu team for giving us the opportunity to work together on creating a truly valuable professional development experience for teachers in Sydney and beyond.