By Mary Jones 27th April 2020

A new programme of professional learning, ‘STEM By Nature’, designed and delivered in collaboration with the John Muir Trust, supports educational practitioners to raise attainment and deliver inspirational, high quality interdisciplinary STEM teaching. At the same time, it’s raising the profile and potential of nature as a classroom and a source of learning across the curriculum.

Teachers from Tayside have evaluated the ‘STEM By Nature’ programme, helping to show how this approach not only promotes links between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) learning and the outdoors, but also helps build teacher and educator confidence to explore new ideas and methods.

The pilot – supported by Education Scotland’s Enhancing Professional Learning in STEM Grants Programme – has incorporated Citizen Science, Sustainable Development Goals and Climate as well as hands-on activity ideas from lichen walks to bird and worm surveys to tree planting and gardening. The programme helps recognise pupil entitlement for Learning for Sustainability, as well as addressing gender and equity engagement challenges.

Plans are now under way for phase 2 (funding permitting), expanding the pilot to Fife.

Forty five educational practitioners across three Tayside hubs, have been involved since September 2019, with positive feedback including:

“Fantastic ideas for learning. Activities, access to resources, links to organisations and other schemes and awards – joined up thinking to bridge STEM and nature”.

“It’s been great, really enjoyed it – a good mix of webinar and face to face support.”

A suite of learning sessions is freely available online (see below) with support from The Scottish Government.

STEM By Nature resources

FSC Scotland and the John Muir Trust have made the following sessions freely available online (with Climate and Coasts & Waters to follow) – along with a supporting Information and Resources padlet – for anyone to access and to help build partnerships.

STEM By Nature – An Introduction
This session explores what is meant by STEM By Nature and how it can be applied.

STEM By Nature and Citizen Science
This session explores STEM By Nature in relation to Citizen Science and Social Action.

STEM By Nature and Sustainable Development Goals
This session explores STEM By Nature in relation to relevant Sustainable Development Goals.

FSC Scotland, Citizen Science and STEM Learning
Information on how Field Studies Centres deliver Citizen Science, Social Action and Field Work, and how this relates to STEM By Nature.

The John Muir Trust and FSC Scotland recognises that connection to wild places is vital for health and wellbeing and asks that anyone who uses these resources does so within current UK Government Coronavirus guidance.

This post was written by Rob Bushby, FSC Scotland Policy Consultant.