ABSTRACT

In vignette 3, we illustrate how a team of teachers worked together using their areas of expertise to create a rich integrated STEM inquiry learning experience to engage students’ hearts, minds, and hands. It was noteworthy that while the lesson’s intention and instruction were focused on the development of specific subject-matter knowledge and disciplinary skills, these knowledge and skills were contextualised in a real-world context using a problem related to mountain pipelines. You will observe that the flow of the lesson from learning domain-specific knowledge to problem-solving was seamless, and students had opportunities to relate what they had learned to the problem at hand immediately. The enactment of the lesson offered many opportunities for students to develop their skills in critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. More importantly, the students gained a deeper appreciation for the complexity of making water available in mountainous regions. Accessible water supply is usually taken for granted by many and, hence, few would be able to empathise with the problems or difficulties faced by villagers living in mountainous regions. Contextualising learning with ‘familiar yet detached’ contexts offers students opportunities to engage with issues that they are less likely to encounter by themselves or may not be fully aware of. Through learning about the issues, students grow their knowledge and develop greater sensitivities on how knowledge and practices from different disciplines can serve as alternative lenses for problems. The learning experiences also result in students gaining an enriched perspective of the problem which could potentially serve as a stimulus for innovative solutions to other wicked problems of the 21st century. Through this activity, students were able to understand the humanistic perspective of integrated STEM inquiry—STEM learning is not just a school subject but can have implications beyond gaining subject-matter knowledge as it can be used to improve the lives of communities.