Wampeewo Ntakke Secondary School is collaborating with Marymount University , Virginia ,USA.
1.There is a need to train staff on the advantages and use of Project Based Learning in class to embrace STEM.
WAMPEEWO NTAKKE SECONDARY SCHOOL.
As the principal, through the administration of the school, has provided support to teachers and students toward the smooth running of STEM teaching and learning in school. This has been achieved through;
Financing all activities and projects under STEM in school
Providing necessary material such as stationary, computers and internet services to help teachers in their lessons and during research.
Encouraging teachers to embrace STEM teaching as it is the way to go in the new O-level curriculum which was put in place by the National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC)
Encouraging project based learning in all subjects.
The Administration supported two of our teachers , Ms. Eva Asaba and Mr. Peter Nsubuga to different training sessions conducted by Professor Usha Rajdev both physical and online. These training sessions have taken place since 2019. The teachers were then given time to encourage students to embrace STEM which was a little challenging but managed to make it.
The students got involved in many trial projects in 2019 such as Paper rockets, The space we need , Egg drop and these encouraged the students to love what they are doing.
The mosquito project then kicked off in 2019 and as administrators we supported our young then STEM team to achieve their goals. The students participated in a pilot study on mosquitoes in the community, construction of traps, collecting and analyzing data from the traps. Since then, many teachers have joined STEM and use project based learning in their classes.
STEm projects have faced challenges which have made their progress slow. These challenges include;
The Covid-19 pandemic that forced us into a lock down and these activities could not go on
Some requirements needed for these projects have not been acquired which puts some projects on hold. These include magnifiers that can be used to study samples in data collection.
Failure of some teachers to embrace STEM leaving it to few teachers making some students miss on this program.
As administrators , there are lessons learnt from STEM some of which are;
2.There is need to improve on the support given to teachers and students currently under STEM not to make them feel as though they are on their own.
3.There is need to improve on the involvement of the school’s Board Of Governors, the Parents’ – Teachers Association and the community in all STEM activities.
4.There is a need to make project based learning a requirement as teachers prepare for their lessons to improve on learning by doing.
5.There is need to provide the necessary resources like computers and internet services to all learners and teachers.
As the principal and top school administration, we plan to;
Allow teachers and students to go out and involve the community . This would have been done a little earlier but was hindered by the lockdown.
Hold training on Project based learning for all teachers.
Encourage update of the school website to show how STEM activities are progressing in the school .
1.Provide technology that help enhance on research in school
2.Recognise students who participate in STEM activities internally.
3.Organize STEM events in conjunction with the community and other neighboring schools and companies
4.Encourage science projects and support them so as to improve on STEM outside class,
5.Collaborate with people in influential positions in the community to help in community outreaches.
6.Support students in national and international science and mathematics competitions.
We were introduced to STEM by our Headteacher Mr. Mike Ssekaggo after he came back from the Kappa Delta Pi Convention 2018 that took place in Indianapolis USA. In 2019, we received documents about how stem would be incorporated into our school curriculum and we gave it a try through projects such as Paper rockets, the space we need and later the Mosquito project.
In 2020 these were put on pause because of the global Covid-19 pandemic and resumed this year 2022 where we had to introduce it to the new students whose curriculum is purely project based.
The STEM teaching was welcomed by us because the National Council for Higher Education in the curriculum amendments highlighted the use of more practical ways to teach concepts in all subjects which is a core in the STEM teaching and learning.
Through physical and online training and meetings by Professor Usha Rajdev, Teachers have been trained in the importance of STEM in teaching and learning in school, preparing lesson plans based on project based learning and preparing for STEM events. As teachers we have helped our students through the mosquito trap project which has been our main project 2019-2022.
In the mosquito trap project, our learners have developed more skills in research, design, innovations, engineering, data collection and analysis, mathematics and how these can be put together to solve society problems in scientific ways.
These projects have been done in school and in the community around school through community outreach was halted by the pandemic as we had to be as careful as possible.
Through the STEM program, as teachers we have learnt to make learning easier and student centered using local material around them. We have learnt to come up with simple activities to enhance learning and also helped in solving problems that affect the society in class.
As teachers though we have faced challenges from our fellow teachers who have not understood STEM and unfortunately are not willing to learn. The projects that take place outdoors have also been vandalized by the community even when advised not to tamper with them. As teachers there is inadequate material to help us in teaching through STEM even when the Administrators have done their best. These include lab equipment, stationary and others.
As teachers, motivating our colleagues towards STEM is our plan and this is to be done by showing how changed our classes are in terms of applying concepts to solve challenges. This can be achieved through organizing class visits, STEM Events and Community work. As teachers we also intend to expand our activities to nearby schools.