Professional Day for STEM Teachers

Join us for a day of STEM professional development for secondary teachers, provided by the Colleges of Engineering, Science, and Education, Health & Human Development.

Date: Friday 5 November 2021
Location: University of Canterbury Ilam Campus
Time: TBA

2020 Workshops

Learn more about our interactive STEM workshops during our Professional Day in 2020.

Microplastics are common environmental pollutants found in oceans, rivers, soils and, most recently, the air. This workshop will introduce you to what microplastics are, where they can be found and present some ideas for classroom projects on the subject. You’ll learn how to identify plastics by density as a way to identify beach litter. There may even be a chance for your school to become involved in a study on the distribution of microplastics in air across Canterbury.

Maths craft is a fun and accessible way to introduce students of all levels to mathematical concepts. In this hands-on workshop we'll show you how to make and manipulate a Möbius strip (with surprising results!) and how to build a fractal sculpture. While we build, twist, and fold we’ll discuss the mathematics behind each creation and how it links to the New Zealand curriculum. Improve your own mathematical thinking and learn crafty techniques for engaging your students with the subject.

Discover a range of virtual field trips designed to support classroom modules on geology and planet earth. Worldviews from Mātauranga Māori and volcanic science combine to offer a fresh look at geologic activity and student engagement. You’ll have the opportunity to develop a lesson activity for your classroom and be introduced to fun modules, such as ‘Rocks as Storytellers’, that support scientific inquiry and critical thinking using resources easily found in backyards and school premises.

Much of the world is covered by forests and vegetation. Monitoring and managing forests and other plant-filled ecosystems in order to support the world’s many ‘ecosystem services’ requires sophisticated technology. In this hands-on workshop, you’ll discover how new technologies can be used to better understand the plants that surround us. You’ll have a chance to measure trees just like the professionals do, fly a drone, and use smart phones to identify different plant species.

This workshop offers a deep dive into data science techniques using the analytic capabilities of an open source data science platform. Our subject: air quality data collected by Environment Canterbury as part of their mandate to monitor local environmental systems. We’ll be showing you how visualisation techniques can be used to draw stories out of data, in this case revealing insights into the various meteorological and human influences on our local air quality.

Engineering technology is being used to quake-proof buildings, build the “Ferrari of bridges” and predict the future in order to save lives. But how can you bring that to the classroom? This hands-on workshop will take you through the building and design of earthquake resilient structures using easily accessible materials. From towers to houses, you’ll have the opportunity to build structures and test them on the shake table with real life earthquake data. You’ll also learn the importance of factoring cost into the design process.

The human psyche has a huge role to play in the world’s environmental challenges – and offers immense potential for solutions too. In this workshop, we’ll be exploring the interplay between psychology and sustainable living. To start you’ll use an online calculator to estimate your own household’s carbon footprint, and identify which aspects of your home life create the most emissions. Then we’ll explore some key psychological principles and how they can be applied to help people adopt more sustainable lifestyles.

Imagine being given the freedom to explore new solutions in a safe and engaging environment – and having fun while you’re at it! Presented by UC’s HITLab, this workshop will introduce you to the world of applied games and gamification, and their potential role in education. You’ll be introduced to core game elements and discover why they can work so well for problem solving and conceptual development. We’ll also walk you through ways to apply gamification to your own subject area.

Have you ever planned a groupwork activity that just fell flat? Do you strive toward a more biculturally responsive practice in STEM but haven’t been able to find the resources? In this workshop you’ll learn bicultural approaches to groupwork in mixed ability STEM classrooms, using a tuakana-teina approach. Immerse yourself in participatory exercises and take away a virtual toolbox of research-based strategies that will help you to run more equitable and mana-enhancing group activities.

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