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  • STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics

The Australian National STEM teaching strategy 2016 is a twenty year commitment to STEM education that was endorsed by Australian Education Ministers on 11 December 2015: National STEM School Education Strategy 2016

An introduction to how to teach using STEM & STEAM| for primary school teachers.

Curriculum Source


  1. ST3-12MW uses scientific knowledge about the transfer of light to solve problems that directly affect people’s lives

BOS Content

  1. Light from a source forms shadows and can be absorbed, reflected and refracted. (ACSSU080)


  • classify materials as transparent, opaque or translucent, based on whether light passes through them, is absorbed, reflected or scattered p1
  • observe and describe how the absorption of light by materials and objects forms shadows, eg building shading p2
  • gather evidence to support their predictions about how light travels and is reflected p3
  • research, using secondary sources to gather information about science understandings, discoveries and/or inventions that depend on the reflection and refraction of light and how these are used to solve problems that directly affect people's lives, eg mirrors, magnifiers, spectacles and prisms (ACSHE083, ACSHE100) p4


Please also see: Assessment Rubric


The current BOS syllabus does NOT include 'colour' as a topic… but it DOES include 'absorption'.

Understanding anything about absorption without understanding something about colour is extremely difficult to do!

How To Teach Science:

Research around the world indicates that at the end of their schooling, large numbers of students still hold many ideas, or conceptions, which are not in accord with the way that scientists understand our world.

There are many possible ways to help investigate, understand and predict the behaviour of things in the natural world. Here are two of the popular ways:

The Philosophical Method:

In ancient times, men indulged in philosophical argument about the natural world: often, to seek reputation and glory for its own sake. This contrasts with modern scientific enquiry, which only concerns itself with propositions and predictions that stand up to real-world test: If a proposition does not stand up to real-world test, then it either does not fall within the realm of scientific investigation or it is wrong.

The Scientific Method:

Many non-scientists continue to hijack and leverage the success of the scientific method to serve self-satisfying, non-scientific, agendas. In the world of finance for example, some people claim that accounting is 'a science'. A physicist would most likely describe such people as bankers - a homonym often more broadly applied to those engaged in similar pseudo-scientific pursuits!

Scientific Method - A Flow Chart

The scientific method is just one definitive way of ask and answering questions; by making observations and doing experiments in the natural world.

Some people argue that there is no such thing as The Scientific Method - make up your own mind:

The generally agreed steps of the scientific method are to:

  • Ask a question
  • Do some background research
  • Construct a hypothesis (a guess)
  • Test your hypothesis by performing an experiment
  • Record your observations in a table of results
  • Analyse the data and draw a conclusion
  • Communicate your results in a way that others can replicate/test.

No matter what your method is, it is important for your experiment to be a fair test:

A fair test means that you should set up your experiment so that everything is fair.

  • You should only change one thing at a time, and note down the results.
  • If you change more than one thing at a time, you can not tell which thing (variable) it was that affected the results.

Teacher background information

Are you interested in science but tired of the 'same-old, same-old? Then why not try something more challenging:

Challenges for scientific bankers



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