Exploring links between pedagogical knowledge practices and student outcomes in STEM education for primary schools

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Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is an emerging initiative in Australia, particularly in primary schools. This qualitative research aimed to understand Year 4 students' involvement in an integrated STEM education unit that focused on science concepts (e.g., states of matter, testing properties of materials) and mathematics concepts (e.g., 3D shapes and metric measurements) for designing, making and testing a strong and safe medical kit to insulate medicines (ice cubes) at desirable temperatures. Data collection tools included student work samples, photographs, written responses from students and the teacher, and researcher notes. In a post-hoc analysis, a pedagogical knowledge practice framework (i.e., planning, timetabling, preparation, teaching strategies, content knowledge, problem solving, classroom management, questioning, implementation, assessment, and viewpoints) was used to explain links to student outcomes in STEM education. The study showed how pedagogical knowledge practices may be linked to student outcomes (knowledge, understanding, skill development, and values and attitudes) for a STEM education activity.