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It’s hard to believe we are approaching the final few weeks of Term 1. Just a reminder that School Stream runs free online training if you or other staff members need a refresher before the start of Term 2.

Click here for more training details or read on for this week’s feel-good post.

Next-level projects to inspire

This week, we have a fun post to showcase an extraordinary STEAM project and a passionate music teacher who are really pushing the boundaries in education. What these arts and science champions have in common is a strong rock and roll pedigree. From an ARIA-winning music teacher in Adelaide, to a rock and roll band sending students’ work to space, you are sure to find some inspiration!

OKGo and educators: A match made in STEAM

“The universal thing we’re trying to get at is just curiosity and wonder. That excitement about the world, where you want to uncover something magical.”
Damian Kulash, lead singer, OK Go

If you’ve spent any time on YouTube, chances are you have seen one of OK Go’s science-inspired music videos. Yes, they may be a rock band, but are probably best known for their wildly ambitious and hypnotic music videos. The video for This Too Shall Pass has 61 Million views. It features a Rube Goldberg machine and science teachers have used the video in class countless times over the past 9 years to demonstrate energy concepts. The video starts with cascading dominos and each stage sets off a series of events with ever-increasing consequences. We won’t spoil the ending but promise it’s well worth a look. Science teachers have been telling the band for years they have used their videos to teach concepts like gravity, transfer of motion, perspective, quadratic equations, parabolas and the importance of failure and persistence.

The band’s popularity with educators has led to them partnering with The University of St Thomas to produce curriculum support for teachers who are using OK Go’s videos in class. Alongside this, the band has also launched the Art in Space competition, which invites students to submit art and science experiments, the winning entry will be sent to space on the New Shepard spacecraft. Who knew a rock and roll band would be the ultimate STEAM advocates?

You can see more such as the famous treadmill choreography video and zero-gravity clip on YouTube, where they each have views in the millions.

And the ARIA goes to…

“I think I was 25 when I decided that I wanted to be that person involved in someone’s life that made a difference”
Scott Maxwell, ARIA award winning music teacher

Not many schools can boast an ARIA winner on staff. But Grant High School in Mount Gambier is very proud to have Scott Maxwell on the team. He won the 2018 ARIA for Music Teacher of the Year for his work on the school’s music program. This passionate teacher single-handedly resuscitated the school’s music program which was ‘on its knees’ to the point where the band room can barely accommodate all the students who want to join in. He also writes the school’s musicals from scratch, introduced songwriting and music performance classes, and has essentially encouraged every student to get up and have a go. The positive performance culture at Grant High School means Scott can find an opportunity for every student to engage with the music program – not only for those who play instruments – but also for those who are more interested in lighting, set-design or live sound. An unexpected bonus of the public performances is that the community is engaged with what the students are learning at school: ‘When you put the students out on the stage for everyone to see, it’s really opening up the doors for the community to come and connect with what the students are doing’.

We hope you enjoyed this light-hearted glimpse into these playful, applied learning experiences.

Don’t forget you can currently download a free copy of the School Communication Report. If you’ve ever wondered how other schools are communicating with their parents, click here for your copy.


Image: OKGoSandbox