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The making of rocket engineers

National award winner

National Early STEM Award winner 2020

Bambou Early Learning Centre, Glen Waverly VIC

Our National winner, Bambou Early Learning Centre, blasted off into space with their wonderful inquiry-based project that began with a lively discussion among the children about the SpaceX Crew Dragon launch. While the children’s perceptions and perspectives were the cornerstones of the project, educators also used this opportunity to familiarise the children with the scientific method through intentional teaching.

The children’s questioning and observations were a key part of this project as was the integration of curriculum areas such as dramatic play, construction, literacy links and the arts. Exploring many different topic areas sparked numerous ideas to improve our future, such as finding the cure for COVID-19 on Mars, getting a garbage truck rocket to collect rubbish in space or an all-in-one rocket with a restaurant and shop taking people to work to ease road traffic.

A highlight for all involved was an online interview with a lecturer from the Australian Space Agency that allowed children to participate from home. The educators’ favourite moment was during an organised yarning circle over a bonfire, when one of the children observed that the fire “looks like the rocket ship is launching”.

Real-world (although out-of-this-world) learning

This authentic child-led, inquiry-based project with its rich language impressed our award panel by translating one moment of curiosity into a long series of varied activities that integrated different curriculum areas, enriched by the educators’ intentional teaching of the scientific method – a stellar performance from Bambou Early Learning Centre.

We are grateful to the happy, curious and creative space engineers for sharing their experience with us.

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