What is STEM?  In summary, it’s an approach to learning that integrates the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The world around us is changing and new jobs are emerging every day as a result of technological advances. Employer demand for STEM qualifications and skills is high, and will continue to increase in the future. Currently, 75 per cent of jobs in the fastest growing industries require workers with STEM skills. To be competitive, the Australian workforce needs people who can adapt to a changing workplace. STEM empowers individuals with the skills to succeed and adapt to this changing world.

The AP STEM Challenge Team went to Hale School to participate in the annual STEM Challenge. During the challenge our students displayed many of the important skills that are considered keys to success in STEM, including problem solving, creativity, independent thinking and initiative. An interesting feature of the event is that students are separated from their team-mates and they work collaboratively with students from other schools. While a little confronting at first, this gave our students an opportunity to make new friends and at the same time demonstrate their wonderful adaptability, teamwork and communication skills. These too are essential for STEM success.

The STEM challenge was a really good experience. We all got to meet lots of new and nice people and use all of our ideas to make something awesome. At first the whole room was quiet and every one was completely embarrassed. Then once we all got to know each other it was lots of fun.  (Tyson)

STEM Challenge last night was awesome! We had to decipher a code to get the coordinates of a “runway” then create two towers with three bridges connecting. It was definitely a challenge and was not at all easy but lots of fun. We all got split up and worked with people we had never met before. Everyone was really helpful and nice. It was an awesome experience! (Keira)

I really enjoyed the STEM challenge. I was put with a really nice group, and we had a plan from the beginning. We all took turns explaining our ideas and implementing them into the project. And the food at the end was great, I look forward to going to another one sometime. (Jesse)

STEM was really good we had to compete with other schools and cooperate with people we had never met before! We had to decipher a code and the coordinates of the Hale High School on a map. (Sawyer)

The STEM Challenge was good because we got to meet heaps of cool kids from other schools and build towers with wood and cello tape and we made lots of friends and ate some yum food at the end. (Dean)