Levels of STEM Engagement in the Classroom

Stage: 3 and 4

We suggest that there are three levels at which students/teachers can be engaged in this process in schools; the table below indicates the types of activity which will fall into each level. All are important and we suggest that a diet of lots of level 1, some of level 2 and a little of level 3 will have great impact on students.

You can find out more about what kinds of activities teachers have used at each level from the discussions and workshops which form the major part of our STEM teacher inspiration days.


Three levels of STEM engagement


Raise awareness of general connections across subjects

  • "Mr. Dalton tells me that this is very useful in chemistry."
  • "Physicists make heavy use of equations."
  • "Historically maths and physics often developed together."
  • "You will need to know plenty of maths to do science at A-level."
  • "The history of astronomy programme is on tonight."
  • "Scientific notation is used in science because the numbers can be so big or small, for example ...."
  • "When I did my biology degree I used statistics a lot."
  • "Look at the beautiful symmetry/mathematical structure in this image from nature."
  • "Negative numbers are used to measure temperatures - the lowest possible temperature is about -273C."
  • "Designers need to be able to use ideas of scale and proportion."
  • etc. etc.


Active reference in lessons to timetabled curriculum links across departments

  • "You will see the Hooke's law graphs when you do linear equations in maths next term."
  • "You will use trigonometry when you do the parallax module next week in physics."
  • "The way we are creating graphs for this experiment is different from the way you create graphs when you do lines of best fit in maths at the moment. Why? Because ..."
  • "You will use equations like this ... in science this term."
  • "When you want to adapt a pattern or a recipe for a different size or a different number of people, you will need to use proportion and fractions."
  • "You often need to do a survey  when you're working on a design brief to find out what people would buy."
  • etc.


Use of cross-curricular tasks in the standard curriculum

  • Analysis in maths lessons of data collected in science/DT lessons.
  • Testing in science of a mathematical model created in a maths lesson.
  • Using genuine DT or science contexts to contextualise a range of mathematical techniques, eg. measurement, estimation, proportion, ratio, fractions, percentages, averages and spread.
  • Asking science and DT colleagues what maths classes will need to use next term, and revising ahead of time using the appropriate context.
  • Termly review of SET books for maths content and maths books for SET content.