Sustainability in STEM

The ‘Environmental Education indoors? Active, Critical and creative kids through STEM’ project will explore the growing tension between sustainability education and school operations. The overarching aim is to identify opportunities to use energy in schools, particularly air-conditioning and energy efficiency activities, as a learning opportunity.

Sustainability education is in danger of becoming ineffective or even a ‘passing fad’ as some teachers feel that they lack the knowledge and skills to convert the organising ideas into meaningful and purposeful teaching and learning opportunities.

Furthermore, teachers feel that they are working in organisational cultures that are at odds with the sustainability message. For example, students are being taught about how to care for the environment, while their schools function in a non-sustainable way in terms of energy use.

This project will focus on establishing a strong partnership between the project team, the Department of Education, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and a local pilot study school based on the potential to integrate the energy use and energy efficiency initiatives of the school as an asset, with sustainability as a cross-curriculum priority, and critical and creative thinking as a general capability.


The team

Dr Daniel Daly (EIS) is a Research Fellow at the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre. Daniel will oversee project set-up, include obtaining necessary ethics approvals, attend all workshops, and oversee the technical assessment of energy efficiency options in the pilot school.

Dr Peter Andersen (ASSH) is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education. His expertise lies in the area of Environmental Education, with a particular focus on how to empower school students to become active and informed global citizens. Peter will support project set-up, liaise with local schools and oversee the development of a STEM-based educational tool specifically designed to build students’ critical and creative thinking capabilities.

Dr Michael Jones (BAL) is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Business. His research interests include Doctoral Studies, Leadership, Organisational Culture, Organisational Psychology and Behaviour, especially looking at Commitment, Motivation and Group Dynamics. Michael will support project set-up and oversee the investigation of the impact of organisational culture on attitudes to energy use inside and outside the curriculum in the pilot location

Dr Yoke Berry (BAL) is a casual researcher and project manager in the Faculty of Business. She will oversee the logistics of the project and contribute to data collection and analysis.


This project is working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

 Goal 4: Quality Education   Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy   Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production   Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals