Fostering critical thinking in a year 7 integrated STEM project with the cognitive apprenticeship model

Violetta Pristel, Vaille Dawson, Christine Howitt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Australia’s future workforce will need to possess sophisticated STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills and transdisciplinary skills such as critical thinking. The purpose of this study is to contribute to the development of critical thinking skills in Year 7 students by providing information and strategies for curriculum developers and teachers to engage and extend students with integrated STEM projects. Interdisciplinary curricula and teaching approaches are considered to be important to foster engagement, develop higher order thinking abilities, and to prepare children for ‘twenty-first century skills’. This research used an interpretive case study design to examine the way a teacher embeds critical thinking skills into their teaching and how teacher skills and resources were deployed to effectively implement interdisciplinary projects. Qualitative data sources for this study include pre/post teacher interviews and classroom observations. This presentation will focus on data collected from a Western Australian secondary school implementing a Year 7 STEM program over two school terms. Students used the engineering design process and a device called a Makey Makey to build a solution to solve a real world problem of their choice. The instructional model used by the teacher resembled the cognitive apprenticeship model. Teaching strategies such as coaching, modelling, scaffolding, articulation, reflection and exploration were used to embed and support critical thinking within STEM lessons. Given the importance of student’s interactions with both teacher and peers, and the small class size of 15 students in this case study, future research will look at whether the cognitive apprenticeship model can be scaled up and used in larger classes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeakin University STEM Education Conference, Online
Subtitle of host publicationConference proceedings: Selected works
EditorsLinda Hobbs, Coral Campbell, Lihua Xu
Place of PublicationGeelong
PublisherDeakin University
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2022
EventSTEM Education Conference 2021 - Deakin University, Geelon, Australia
Duration: 18 Oct 202119 Oct 2021


ConferenceSTEM Education Conference 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Fostering critical thinking in a year 7 integrated STEM project with the cognitive apprenticeship model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this