STEM Education in Primary Classrooms

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040920 - 88
Angela Fitzgerald, Carole Haeusler & Linda Pfeiffer
April 2020
Taylor & Francis

Product Overview

Unravelling Contemporary Approaches in Australia and New Zealand

If you were to peer into a primary school classroom somewhere across Australia and New Zealand, you would be forgiven for thinking that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is synonymous with coding and digital technologies. However, while these aspects are important, technology alone does not reflect the broad learning opportunities afforded by STEM.

In countering this narrow approach, STEM Education in Primary Classrooms offers a platform for research that innovates, excites and challenges the status quo. It provides educators with innovative and up-to-date research into how to meaningfully and authentically embed STEM into existing classroom practices. It incorporates accurate explanations of STEM as an integrated approach to solving real-world problems, including social issues, along with case studies and stories to bring practice to life in evidence-informed ways.

This book showcases the impact of a broader approach to STEM in the primary classroom through Australian-based and New Zealand-based research that will challenge current teaching practices. Thus, this book will be of interest to pre- and in-service primary school teachers, along with researchers and postgraduate students in the STEM education field.

Table of Contents

Lists of Figures and Tables

List of Contributors

Foreword Professor Paul Bertsch, Queensland Chief Scientist

Chapter 1. More Than Coding: Positioning STEM Education in Policy and Practice Angela Fitzgerald, Carole Haeusler and Linda Pfeiffer

Chapter 2. Engaging Diverse Students in STEM: The Five Dimensions Framework Kimberley Wilson

Chapter 3. Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning in Primary STEM Amanda Woods-McConney, Andrew McConney And Keryn Sturrock

Chapter 4. Learning Mathematics Through STEM in A Play Based Classroom Paula Mildenhall and Barbara Sherriff

Chapter 5. A Case Study of a University-Industry STEM Partnership in Regional Queensland Dr Linda Pfeiffer and Kathryn Tabon

Chapter 6. Online Citizen Science in the Classroom: Engaging with Real Science and STEM to Develop Capabilities for Citizenship Dayle Anderson, Markus Luczak-Roesch, Cathal Doyle, Yevgeniya (Jane) Li, Brigitte Glasson, Cameron Pierson, Dianne Christenson, Carol Brieseman, Melissa Coton and Matt Boucher

Chapter 7. School-University Partnerships as Rich STEM Learning Contexts for Pre-Service Teachers Working with Primary Students Kimberley Pressick-Kilborn and Anne Prescott

Chapter 8. What Do Primary Teachers Think About STEM Education? Exploring Cross-Cultural Perspectives Kathy Smith, Sindu George and Jennifer Mansfield

Chapter 9. The Role of the Maker Faire in STEM Engagement: Messages for Teacher Professional Development Coral Campbell, Linda Hobbs and Lihua Xu

Chapter 10. More Than S.T.E.M.: Connecting Students’ Learning to Community Through Eco-Justice Kathryn Paige, Lisa O’Keeffe and David Lloyd

Chapter 11. Informal Spaces for STEM Learning and Teaching: STEM Clubs Angela Fitzgerald, Tania Leach, Kate Davis, Neil Martin and Shelley Dunlop



Angela Fitzgerald is an associate professor (science curriculum and pedagogy) and deputy head of the School of Education at the University of Southern Queensland. Her main focus is engaging pre- and in-service teachers in developing their confidence and competence in STEM learning and teaching in primary school settings.

Carole Haeusler is a lecturer in science education at the University of Southern Queensland. She has had extensive teaching experience at secondary and tertiary levels and has worked as a consultant in government authorities. Her research interest is primary children’s cognition in science.

Linda Pfeiffer is a senior lecturer in the School of Education and the Arts at CQUniversity, Australia. She has a broad range of teaching experiences in primary, secondary and tertiary education. Linda works with numerous stakeholders to improve STEM outcomes and leads the Australia Pacific LNG STEM Research Central project.


Congratulations to the authors and editors for creating an accessible and research-informed account of why we must and how we can implement an integrated approach to STEM education for primary school students. The various examples and case studies richly illustrate how we can embed interdisciplinary problem-solving tasks using authentic contexts and inquiry pedagogies into the curriculum and develop the capabilities required for living and working in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Emeritus Professor Mark Hackling, Edith Cowan University

What does the future hold? Whatever direction it takes, it is a sure bet that science, technology, engineering and mathematics will have a critical role. Citizens will have to decide what is acceptable, useful and beneficial and what is not. STEM education is the key to wise choices and starting early to prepare all Australians and New Zealanders with capacity to make those choices is critical. This is a great book that has deep analytical insights from practitioners and researchers and shows us the way.  Let’s go.
Emeritus Professor Ian Chubb, Former Chief Scientist of Australia, AC FAA FTSE

This book is distinctive in highlighting how science education can be a generative starting point for STEM education in primary school settings. The chapters offer rich examples of this through a focus on pedagogy, partnerships, professional development and possibilities. I strongly recommend the book to teachers and researchers – they will find much to pique their interest and support their thinking.

Professor Bronwen Cowie, Associate Dean Research, Education Division, The University of Waikato, New Zealand


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