How the outcomes were achieved

Science and Mathematics in the Classroom

A new elective, Science and Mathematics in the Classroom, was created in 2015 for the University of Melbourne’s Master of Teaching (Primary) program, and focused on the integration of STEM ideas into the primary classroom environment.


Dr Christine Redman, University of Melbourne.

Responds to ReMSTEP innovation(s):


Contemporary science and mathematics integrated in initial teacher education (ITE) units of study.


Specialist science and technology centre collaborations.

Key points

As part of the new specialisations offered within the Master of Teaching (Primary) at the University of Melbourne, a new elective was developed which focused on the integration of science and mathematics into the primary classroom environment. The unit, Science and Mathematics in the Classroom, was developed in collaboration with pre-service teachers, under the ReMSTEP Innovation 1 framework.

It gave us a really unique opportunity to work with people... it was fair recognition of everybody's time involved in the program–it wasn't an imposition–and I think that for me that sort of partnership means that you don't feel that you are the only people who are benefiting. You can see what your own students are getting out of it, and what you are getting out of it. It was a unique experience, and not something I would have initiated without REMSTEP.

Dr Christine Redman, Chair of the Capstone experience at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education

The elective was designed to model the teaching approaches that ReMSTEP embodies. Pre-service teachers, in collaboration with a team of academics; education officers from specialist science centres, scientists, mathematicians, school-based staff and teachers developed strategies of integration, and then put those ideas into practice in select primary schools.

In 2015, the unit focused on the Adaptations unit:

Pre-service teachers talk about their experience with the elective

In 2016, the University partnered with the Victorian Space Science Education Centre to give students the opportunity to learn about science outreach in their interactive facility.

The intention of the unit is to develop the skills and capacities of the pre-service teachers to more effectively integrate science and mathematics, in a more authentic way than is normally done, and to have scientists and mathematicians involved in that process. The traditional image of a scientist dies hard, and by working with real-world scientists, the pre-service teachers have an authentic image to pass on to their classes.

Undertaking this elective has actually helped me understand a lot about teaching science. It has been amazing doing this course because just knowing the content, knowing about science or adaptations, has not been enough to teach the subject. And that is what I have learned through actually teaching in the classroom. It’s amazing watching other student candidates describe a concept or having dialogue with students because I can see or observe while I am in the classroom.

Participating pre-service teacher

This elective has been well received, and continues to be offered in 2017. Two surveyed participants said that the leadership experience they received in the unit helped them find employment, and all participants felt more confident in their ability to integrate science and mathematics into their teaching.

Learn more

For more analysis download the Survey Findings report.

Download report - 62kb pdf

Duncan Symons discusses findings from the elective at the 2016 ReMSTEP conference


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