Curious about what the judges look for in an EPAA winner? In 2021, the Cambridge University Press team were the proud recipients of the Tertiary Teaching and Learning Resource- Blended learning (wholly Australian) Award. 

Here they have shared their publishing journey with us, looking at the process they went through to produce such an outstanding learning resource – and providing a few insights on what makes a resource an EEPA winner.

Forbes et al. STEM Education in the Primary School: A Teacher’s Toolkit

STEM Education in the Primary School: A Teacher’s Toolkit is just that: a tool kit for Primary teachers incorporating STEM education in their classrooms. Taking a problem-based learning approach, STEM Education in the Primary School offers hands-on experience to teach students how to investigate, plan, create and improve on skill-based projects. 

STEM (Science, Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics) has gained prominence in the Education field in recent years, and emphasis has been placed on its relevance and usefulness in schools across Australia; it is now considered an essential skillset for students. From market research undertaken by Cambridge University Press, it was evident that pre- and in-service teachers were lacking the appropriate resources that would equip them with the knowledge and understanding to effectively teach the subject, and needed guidance to ensure that they were meeting their curriculum requirements. We saw a large learning gap in this market, and wanted to provide a timely and useful resource for teachers in all stages of their careers.

STEM Education in the Primary School: A Teacher’s Toolkit is an essential resource for Primary teachers looking for practical guidance in their classroom activities and real-world applications for STEM concepts such as Health, Shelter and Space. The projects suggested throughout the book provide age-appropriate examples for each of the year levels and are linked to the Australian Curriculum, providing teachers with support to include these ideas in their classroom while meeting the learning needs of their students. For example, the Garden Challenge project describes the need for a food garden at a local school. Using an integrated STEM project-based learning model that is outlined over the first 5 chapters of the text, each year level is able to contribute to the development of the garden while following the requirements of each discipline of STEM. The text also features a suite of resources including a VitalSource enhanced eBook with guided responses to in-chapter questions, further resources and downloadable templates. 

It acts as a guidebook and is the only text in the Australian market to cover all of these topics with a focus of practical guidance through each subject area. 

Cambridge University Press wanted to ensure there was a good balance of research-based and classroom experience among the author team so that they were well-placed to approach the theory behind STEM and the practicalities of teaching it in a Primary classroom. The knowledge and experience of Anne Forbes, Linda Pfieffer, Vinesh Chandra and Rachel Sheffield are fundamental to the approach the book has taken, and how well it integrates a project-based learning model for all ages. Ensuring that a book was able to cover the intricacies of the field of STEM, as well as providing a guide for how to implement this approach in a classroom with curriculum and assessment direction also, was essential to the development of this book.

The text came together over about a year and a half, following a lengthy peer review process that ensured we were creating a text that would meet market needs. This process is fundamental to our publishing and was a great chance for our authors to communicate their aims for the text and for the market to communicate what they needed to see. We received some great feedback along the way, and it was incredibly positive to see the market responding to the need for a text like this one. Working with the authors to bring this text together was an enjoyable journey, and we at Cambridge look forward to seeing how the text is received by the market in the next few years.

It is wonderful to see that our goals of creating a useful resource for pre-service teachers to take with them to practice have been recognised by the judges. We are immensely proud of our authors for their creativity and ability to create practical challenges such as the Garden Challenge project that benefit Primary learners and teachers, and that the value in these and all of the projects has been realised. As a team, the authors and Cambridge take importance in ensuring that all learners are valued and benefitted by our resources, and we look forward to seeing the future of STEM Education advance from the continued devotion to essential subject-areas such as this. Our mission at Cambridge University Press is to support and enhance quality education at a global level to ensure that we are able to develop resources that unlock the potential of our learners. We are thrilled to see STEM Education in the Primary School meet these goals and to receive this recognition from the judging panel.