valuing engineering and Mathematics through arts in vce
STEM, or STEAM as I know it, has a firm place in the VCE.
It is not the sole responsibility of Science, Maths, IT and Arts teachers to explore, innovate and embed practices that reflect the changing and valuable nature of STEAM education. Nor is it the responsibility of Middle Years Teachers to excite, engage and hopefully entice students to see the value in STEAM areas only to have learning and content compartmentalised and in many cases the passion lost for it in the final years of schooling.
So as a Visual Communication Design Teacher I tasked myself with challenging my learners to embrace the engineering and mathematical concepts associated with industrial design - all whilst satisfying the Study Design requirements.
Enter Russell Gallagher - Chief Engineer on the locally conceived, designed and built FR1 concept car.
See task outline below
What happened next is important
The students wanted to know more. So they arranged themselves to go to the Ian Potter Gallery to see the concept car. They then contacted Russell and we (12 out of the 20 students) travelled to the Fox Car Collection Garage to see the car, the clay models, the carbon fibre process and the machine that printed the key parts. We got to see the car in action and push it back when it broke down on the test track... And then reflect on the importance of mathematical accuracy in engineering and design. We got to see the designs that did not work, discuss why and pose ideas and solutions.
Students realised engineering and VCD do relate and they can explore these things they liked. The maths requirements of VCD that usually brought groans and eye rolling became essential aspects of art and design. The surge in VCD enrolments, particularly of students engaging in Science based programs increased. The diversity of what students explored for their folio increased to include more engineering styled design. VCE students were engaged in their learning, connected to the real world STEM concepts and still satisfying the course requirements.