STEM Product Development for UK – Geomag Mechanics
STEM Product Development for UK – Geomag Mechanics Richard Farrow
IN 2014 the well-established Swiss based Geomag Company, renowned for its high quality and innovative magnetic products, decided to create an Education division. The brief for this Division was to embrace the areas of Science, Technology Engineering and Maths, known as STEM. The focus of the product development would be to embrace modern global learning by providing hands on learning resources that would engage both male and female students. Brands 4 Learning were chosen to drive the development process working alongside the Geomag in-house team.
The products should stimulate a pupil’s natural desire to learn through safe, problem solving and progressive activities.
Research from global bodies i.e. OECD, Universities and including local teacher interviews proved that students simply are not being exposed to STEM. More concerning is that skills of teachers fell short in respect of knowledge and confidence to communicate the STEM subject matter.
What was also clear is that skills in STEM need to be addressed at an earlier age, ideally at the primary level and that skills and employment for the future will rely on a far deeper and greater exposure to a STEM based curriculum.
The challenge was to develop a resource that would embrace the research findings and give the confidence to teach STEM. From the teacher perspective, educational material has to be clear, logical, non-threatening and easy to manage in a classroom environment. To accomplish this, material was devised and developed with specialist teachers, then tested in a classroom environment using general teaching practitioners. The result was pupil centred activities and worksheets designed to build confidence and understanding. Assessment elements are included to measure and validate pupil understanding.
The whole resource is presented in a Gratnell’s storage solution for ease of classroom management.
Geomag Mechanics – The Resource
The set is a comprehensive resource that introduces learners to the concepts of magnetism embracing the following areas
Making a compass
Accumulation of polarities
Utilising push and pull forces
Adding rotational movement
The above are complex subjects, both to address and more so to understand. With the Geomag Mechanics set these challenging areas can be addressed and delivered in a practical fun and engaging fashion. That encourages and empowers students in broadening their Stem understanding and embracing real STEM skills.
The student material layout is based on clear learning objectives, resources required, information and task. This format is devised to put the student as the learner and the teacher as facilitator. It encourages problem solving, communication and team work. The challenges are devised to be progressive and have an assessment element that strengthens progress and understanding. The framework adopted is based on the four C’s (Connect, Construct, Contemplate and Continue) to encourage the creativity and engagement that allows students to flourish.
This set is a truly unique resource that delivers in terms of science and engineering and empowers both pupil and teachers in what can be achieved in STEM, and giving a thorough understanding through practical hands on activity.
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