A STEM extended learning project to raise awareness of social justice in a Year 3 primary classroom

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

International Journal of Science Education




School of Education




Mildenhall, P., Cowie, B., & Sherriff, B. (2019). A STEM extended learning project to raise awareness of social justice in a Year 3 primary classroom. International Journal of Science Education, 41(4), 471-489. Available here


Governments worldwide are advocating for STEM curricula as essential to economic viability but the opportunity for STEM to create a re-envisioned world where there is equal access to wealth, opportunities, and privileges is less prominent. The literature has also not clearly articulated how the combination of the individual disciplines areas: science, technology, engineering and maths should be structured to form a cohesive paradigm within a contextual real-world problem. This paper details one example of a STEM unit had with an equity and social justice agenda. The teacher orchestrated a range of learning experiences to develop student intellectual and emotional engagement with the learning experience sequence, which was to design a pair of shoes for students in a refugee camp using resources that might be available there. Her teaching approach involved the choreography of student attention to the different dimensions of STEM. While all were in play particular disciplinary concepts and practices were foregrounded at different times. We propose that teaching STEM involves a choreography of focus on the different disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, with the relative weight at any one time and overall depending on the nature of the task that is to be accomplished.



Access Rights

subscription content