Inspired by a passion for promoting Women in STEM fields, Ashley Stewart is using STEM, problem-based learning and Spatial Training to drive improvement in mathematics at the Newton Moore Senior High School in Bunbury, WA.
The Maths Department Head was concerned about the low NAPLAN results of Indigenous students, particularly girls, and she chose spatial training – developing understanding of three-dimensional shapes and movement – as a more practical entry into a subject many found discouraging.
Her instinct proved correct. Along with vastly improved classroom engagement, NAPLAN scores have edged ahead of like schools. Especially pleasing for Mrs Stewart, are the fewer limited achievement grades from 2017 to 2018.
She has also established an inventors’ club, and fielded three teams in the International Mathematical Modelling Challenge, all towards one goal: “to engage students in relevant, meaningful and exciting activities that develop a passion and ongoing interest in STEM professions.”