S.T.E.M – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths

When your child leaves school the majority of the jobs they will go into are not even thought of as yet. Many of these will require specialist skills that include those covered in the STEM subject areas. The USA National Science Foundation predicts that 80% of future jobs will require math and science skills.

What is STEM?

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM is important because it infiltrates every part of our lives. Science is everywhere in the world around us. Technology is continuously expanding into every aspect of our lives. Engineering is the basic designs of roads and bridges, but also tackles the challenges of changing global weather and environmentally-friendly changes to our home. Mathematics is in every occupation; every activity we do in our lives. STEM activities provide hands-on and minds-on lessons for the student. Making math and science both fun and interesting helps our students to do much more than just learn.


Schools are starting STEM-based learning programmes to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the 21st century. STEM learning will not only produce tomorrow's designers and engineers; it will develop innovative mind-sets and the ability to problem-solve, ensuring that our students become creators of technology, not just passive consumers. 

STEM at Wairakei Primary School

As part of the Wairakei Primary School curriculum, we include STEM-based activities in our Inquiry learning.

Room 1 has recently made parachutes. The students needed to problem solve to complete the task and use a variety of STEM-based skills.

Mikayla -  It’s really fun doing STEM. I would like to do building when I am older and STEM activities will help me when I do this, because I will need, all of them – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths to be a builder.

Addi - When we tried to make our parachutes you had to problem solve, because sometimes the first way you tried to do something it didn’t work. Learning science and technology helps you learn new things.

Room 1 have also been studying forensics. Their guest speaker, from the Taupo Police showed them how to take fingerprints.


STEM making parachutes room1



Maddox - The chalk helps detect fingerprints left around a crime scene. You have to use science when you are finding out who the culprit is and technology - machines and computers-  to classify the owner of the bullets.

Ihaka- They use powdered chalk when checking for fingerprints on bullets. You need to know maths to work out the correct amount of power to use and computers to check if the fingerprints are from someone the police already know.


STEM making fingerprints room1


Room 9 has been creating a number of contraptions and vehicles are part of STEM-based activities through their Inquiry, including catapults and chariots.


STEM making catapults room9


Claire- STEM means creating things like catapults and airplanes. We used maths to make catapults. We had to count the sticks we needed.

Poppy – It’s important to learn STEM at school so it will help you when you get a job, like if you are a farmer you need to work out how much feed is needed for the animals and what is the best feed to use.

Cole - STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. When we made chariots we used engineering to work out how to put the pieces together to make it.


STEM making chariots room9



Students are extremely curious and impressionable. Instilling interest in STEM, at an early age, could spark a desire to continue studying in these areas, leading to careers in these fields.

Links to find out more about STEM education in New Zealand


Keywords: STEM, Inquiry, problem solving

STEM fingerprints room1 04