Gardening for the Global Goals

Student Produced Video Submission
Congratulations to our students!

Please join us at our open day on Saturday 22nd June 2019. 930 – 1130am.

Click on the link for more information

STEM education is about providing students with thinking and problem-solving skills to thrive in the 21stCentury workplace. At Pensmith STEM International we love teaching and learning through STEM Education. Let’s take a look at what the STEM is in STEM Education.  

The late 20thCentury saw the need for more people in the workforce in science and engineering fields.  Governments around the world started looking at how to respond to this. The result was the increasing focus on STEM education. Governments around the world, including Thailand, understand the importance of STEM Education in developing the skills needed for the jobs of the future.

STEM Education is not access to more science, technology, engineering or maths.  It is not just about science or maths competitions, although these, especially the Formula 1 in Schools STEM Challenge, can be a lot of fun!  STEM education is a movement towards increasing connectedness of subject areas, hands-on learning by doing, and learning in a real-world context.

How are STEM subjects linked?

If we look at each of the STEM subjects we can see how they are linked and why we learn them:

  • Science is about understanding our natural world.  As we learn the scientific process we discover ways of asking questions and then testing these questions to come to conclusions.  
  • Technology is the application of our scientific understanding.  We use a problem-solving approach, which stems from the Engineering Design Process, to look at a problem or challenge.  This starts with considering who the solution is intended for. Then defining the problem, and generating possible solutions. Following this, we make a prototype. Finally, testing whether this solution will work for the user.  
  • Engineering is all about problem-solving!  Using the Engineering Design Process students look at ways of understanding a problem to improve our lives.
  • Maths is the language and foundation for the development of logical thinking and reasoning which are used for problem-solving.  Maths helps us understand patterns for us to engineer new technologies, create models which help to develop solutions to real-world problems.

Therefore, the link between these core STEM areas is the foundation of developing our thinking and problem-solving abilities.

Pensmith STEM – Projects with Global Goals

At Pensmith STEM International we deliver our curriculum through projects based on themes related to the 2030 UN Goals for Sustainable Development. We talked about this in a previous post. These themes include Gender Equality, No Poverty, and Affordable and Clean Energy. Therefore, students are explicitly exposed to real-world problems and challenges. Consequently, demonstrating the relevance and importance of what they are learning. 

The Themed Projects, referred to as “STEM Projects”, have an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.  Additionally, benefitting from the integration of other subject areas including English, Geography, History, Art, Music and ICT.  Click here for an example of a STEM project.

STEM Projects combine skills and knowledge from across the curriculum. This develops students’ ability to work in teams to promote their critical thinking and problem-solving skills through discovery and exploratory learning. Students develop and research ideas and work towards developing solutions to real-world problems.

How we decide on Projects

There are four principles which guide the development of worthwhile projects: 

1. Sustainable: Our Projects incorporate real-world problems through UN Sustainability Goals and focus on quality and sustainable solutions.
2. Transferable: Projects should allow students to develop skills, knowledge and understanding that is transferable for use in future projects and activities.
3. Engaging: Projects should be engaging, inspiring students taking an active role in completing the project. 

4. Meaningful: Projects develop and create meaningful products and outcomes which have impact on, and contribute to the community. 

Across the projects, students are expected to

  • Develop their 21st Century Skills
  • Develop skills relating to project management, time management, resource management and financial management. 

We believe that STEM Education is an outstanding way to prepare children for the future.  Please contact us if you want to find out more. 

Visit Our Open Day: Saturday 15th December 2018.  To register call 085-155-8888 or follow this link

On Saturday 15thDecember 2018 we will be hosting our Open Day. The purpose of this day is for you and prospective children and their families to :

  • Learn more about our school and STEM Education
  • Investigate the great things that our students have been learning
  • Discover the outstanding opportunities that our learning environment offers
  • Explore our school and facilities
  • Participate with our students and staff on some of their projects and learn about the challenges they encountered and solutions they came up with

This is a fantastic opportunity for you to see what our students have been learning in their most recent projects.

Activities start at 9am and will finish at 11.30am. 

Ground Floor Activity Map
First Floor Activity Map
The projects you can experience at our Open Day.

In this project, students were asking the question “How is plastic pollution affecting our Oceans?   The 4 UN sustainability goals in focus were: Life Below Water, Responsible Consumption and Production, Clean Water and Good Health and Well Being.

Students explored the work of Greenpeace in Thailand and read news articles about ocean animals, including the plight of the pilot whale that died in Songkhla province.  The whale died with 8kg of plastic waste inside its stomach.  Using recycled materials students re-created a model of the whale, complete with eaten plastic to raise awareness of the issue.

Students undertook persuasive writing to write a letter to their parents to encourage their families to stop using plastic straw, which is a particular problem to ocean life.



Save the turtles

Using the design process students created Lego models of turtles and whales.  Then developing their programming skills with Lego WeDo to have the models move and communicate.


Students then headed to Bang Saen beach to clean the beach to help reduce the amount of plastic ending up in the sea.

Students created designs for fabric bags supporting their cause of stopping the use of plastic bags. Students took these bags and campaigned outside 7-Eleven to increase awareness of the issues.  Students handed out their fabric bags to members of the local community and customers of 7-Eleven.


Untitled design-2.png


Please help support sustainability and life in our oceans. Reduce, reuse, recycle and wherever possible stop using plastic.


At Pensmith STEM our curriculum through the UN sustainability goals expose students to real-world problems and how what they are studying is relevant.   Students undertake these projects which combine skills and knowledge from across the curriculum. This develops students’ ability to work in teams, promote their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, develop research skills, and ideate solutions to real-world problems, all through discovery and exploratory learning.

Subjects / Skills directly related to the project: English, Science, Geography, Art, Design, Engineering, Technology.

21st Century Skills Developed: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Leadership



At Pensmith STEM International, our students learn through a project-based learning approach – we call these “STEM projects”.  Although they are called “STEM projects” they are not limited to learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.  The projects incorporate other subject areas and skills such as Art, Music, Geography, ICT, and History.  Throughout our learning students are focussed on developing 21st Century skills – we separate these into skills for learning and skills for life.  Skills for Learning include Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, and Communication.  Skills for Life involves curiosity and imagination, adaptability and persistence, global citizenship and leadership.

F1 in Schools Challenge

We were therefore very excited to hear about the F1 in Schools Challenge and Competitions have arrived in Thailand.

This is designed as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, English and Maths) challenge.  Students have the task of creating a Formula 1 team.  This involves forming a team of 3 – 6 students, create a business plan, marketing and sponsorship, design, manufacture and race a model F1 car.

The format and approach to STEM learning match really well with the goals for students at Pensmith STEM International which contributed to our decision to integrate this into our curriculum.

Let’s take a look at what this looked like in our first week

Mission: In teams of 3-4, students will research, design, manufacture, test, promote and race the fastest car possible.

Day 1: Planning phase

Today started with lots of communication, collaboration, and leadership skills.  Subject areas involved in step 1: English and Global Citizenship, Physical Education (team building).

F1 in Schools Challenge

Teams deciding on team roles

Students had to form a team of 4 people and then decide on which role they would take on for the challenge: A team manager, manufacturing engineer, design engineer, graphic engineer.

F1 in Schools Challenge

Presentation introducing their team

Following these negotiations, the teams decided on a team name, assign roles within their team, design a team logo, then gave a short presentation introducing their team.

Step 2: Design and Manufacture

Our teams’ design and manufacture their model F1 cars, at this level, they are made with card, and are completed with an axle, wheels, a car body and a driver. The students got to learn how to use the paper plotter to cut/manufacture their car designs.  Logos and sponsorship were selected for their cars.

A big day for innovation, creativity and problem-solving.  Subject areas involved in step 2: Art and Design (logo), Technology (learning paper plotter), Maths (measurement and shape) and Engineering (car construction).

Step 3: Testing

Our teams test their cars in the wind tunnel, learning about how aerodynamics affect the speed of the cars.  Teams had the opportunity to test their reaction times and their cars – making necessary modifications to be ready for race day.  The team managers leadership skills are put to the test in deciding which team member will represent the team to race their car and a decision on which was the fastest car to use in the F1 in Schools Challenge final race.

This step was about communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, with lots of opportunities for leadership and problem-solving.  Subject areas English, Science (aerodynamics), Technology (learning how to use the wind tunnel), Engineering (Problem-solving solutions to their car designs), Maths (measuring drag, and reaction times), Physical Education (reaction times).

Step 4: Promotion and Oral Presentation Practice

The pit display shows off the team logo, their sponsors, the roles of the team members and explains the process they followed in the design and manufacture of their cars.  Finally teams and get to practice their 2 minute verbal presentations to introduce their team and explain their team values.

Communication and collaboration were essential today, as teams put their creativity to the test on developing a pit displays. Subject area focus at this step: English (verbal presentation and pit displays) art and design (logo and pit display), citizenship (team values).

Step 5: Race Day

Race day brings together everything the students have learnt and experienced over the week as F1 in School Challenge Race Day arrived.  Teams were nervous as they added the final touches to their pit displays and cars.

As in the national championships for the F1 in Schools Challenge, students present their teams, their pit display, their cars are checked that they meet all the regulations.

Then time to race.

For our first F1 in Schools Challenge, prizes were awarded for best car design, pit display, and the fastest car.  The overall winner was the team with the best overall score.

F1 in Schools Challenge

Winners and their Prizes

2015 saw a historic agreement between 193 countries.  This agreement resulted in the development of 17 sustainable development goals with the aim to make the world a better place.  These UN global sustainability goals include an end to poverty, tackling climate change and education for all. Read More

Integrating Art and Science

At Pensmith STEM International our focus developing 21st Century skills through  Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education.  We do this through a project based approach.  Does this mean we ignore other subjects such as Art, Music, Humanities?  No, absolutely not!  These subjects are important for developing 21st Century skills – particularly creativity, communication and collaboration.  We integrate these subject areas into our STEM projects.  As a part of their project “Life on Land” the group below recreate flowers using a variety of materials as an integrated art and science activity.

The 21st August saw the arrival of our founding student group to start their Pensmith STEM International journey. Here is the journey of our first week.  It is our aim for our students to become globally responsible citizens who are prepared for the demands of our changing and developing world.  We are doing this through integrated learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, and instilling 21st Century skills to enable them to thrive as leaders, innovators and citizens.

We have a great team of creative and dedicated teachers who have been preparing together over the last 3 weeks to develop some awesome STEM projects and activities to engage our students and develop their 21st Century skills.

Our campus is really taking shape.  Our classrooms are looking fantastic. Furthermore, our play equipment is ready and already in use.  Our maintenance team are still working on the multi-sport surface in our playground area.  The weather has not been on our side in completing this one in time for the start of the school year.

This week the students have been learning about the design process, 21st Century Skills and undertaking STEM challenges and getting to know each other.

As our school grows, we look forward to welcoming new students and their families to our community.

Our first weekOur first week

Our first weekOur first week

Our first weekOur first weekOur first week

It is clear that skills needed at work are changing and the pace at which this is happening in increasing.   Technologies such as Uber, Airbnb, online shopping, and self-driving vehicles have eliminated thousands of jobs, while making way for the creation of jobs requiring 21st Century skills – which are predominately Digital Skills, and involve jobs  that design, manufacture, program and maintain the technology. Read More

In his book, An Introduction to Critical Thinking and Creativity: Think More, Think Better, Dr, Lau writes that critical thinkers can do the following:

  • Understand the logical connections between ideas.
  • Identify, construct, and evaluate arguments.
  • Detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning.
  • Solve problems systematically.
  • Identify the relevance and importance of ideas.
  • Reflect on the justification of one’s own beliefs and values.
What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is therefore not just knowing lots of information or having a good memory.  A critical thinker can use the information that he or she knows to solve problems.  This requires us to determine the relative importance of the information we have.  Then we must assess the strength of that information.  Finally, we must decide what new information we need to help with decision making and to solve the problem faced.

Critical thinking promotes and is an essential ingredient of creativity.  Creativity helps us come up with new ideas. Therefore critical thinking is used to evaluate, select and improve on these ideas to achieve a relevant and appropriate solution.

Critical Thinking and the Future of Jobs

In 2016 the World Economic Forum released a report: “The Future of Jobs”.  This report discussed the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is seeing developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, 3D printing, genetics and biotechnology, the report noted the global disruption this will cause in the skills needed in work.


The data compiled by the World Economic Forum highlight the top 3 most relevant skills needed in the 21st Century.  These relate to critical thinking, creativity, and their practical application through problem-solving.

The great news is that these are skills and something that we can learn and use throughout our lives regardless of the career we choose. Furthermore, critical thinking and problem-solving are transferrable skills. This means that they can be applied to a variety of different situations.  The result is that these skills allow us to develop an understanding guided by scientific inquiry and evidence-based thinking.  So rather than just noticing that something has happened, we get a deeper understanding of why something has happened, through an analysis of the factors that created that outcome.

Science learning in the context of a good STEM education not only helps prepare the next generation for better jobs it also teaches them skills that can be used throughout life to help them get through tough times to open their mind to accept information based on factual evidence and embrace new opportunities.


Lau, J.Y.F (2011) An Introduction to Critical Thinking and Creativity: Think More, Think Better, Wiley, New Jersey

Research by the University of Maryland has found that your mindset contributes to your creativity, which they referred to as the Creativity Stereotype Effect.  If you think you are creative, your chances of being creative increase, and thinking your not creative can decrease your creativity.  Therefore, everyone can be creative by working on our mindset.  At PensmithSTEM we focus on the development of 21st Century skills through STEM education.  The development of students’ creativity is an area where teachers can have a huge impact on developing this essential 21st Century skill.