Over the past several years our Elementary School has invested in resources to enhance integration of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) into everyday learning.
The creation, staffing, and resourcing of a design Makerspace, the organization of science labs, and professional development opportunities for teachers allow us to maximize learning and application of STEAM skills and knowledge through a trial program in Grades 3 and 4.
The launch of the Enhanced PYP, which allows for STEAM to be included consistently throughout the year, gives students and teachers more time to explore and develop these subject areas.
The trial program provides opportunities for students to learn across different subject areas and apply their skills and knowledge to the real world, which are Targets associated with The Future of Learning at WAB (FLoW21).
For example, rather than practicing isolated skills in the classroom, students are using science, math, and artistic knowledge in hands-on projects, such as building scaled bridges, creating working clocks, making patchwork pillows and conducting experiments.
“We’ve found this trial is a great way to integrate skills we are learning in class with real world experience,” said Grade 3 teacher Kimberly Gregory. "We see students are more confident in challenging themselves to problem solve, create, collaborate, and drive their own learning when they’re hands-on.”
Under the guidance of a faculty specialist, the students work in small groups on STEAM projects. Students rotate through all projects over several months and develop foundational skills which allow them to independently apply their learning and push forward their own capabilities.
Specific learning covered in the STEAM classes include:
- Scientific method, experimentation and observations
- Physics – levers, gears, pulleys, electric generators
- Biology – seeds and plants
- Design/creative cycle and thinking
- Hand and machine sewing
- Measurement in 2 and 3 dimensions
- Collaboration (lab partners)
- Data collection and graphing
Feedback from both the teachers and students is extremely positive, as we’ve seen students highly engaged, self-motivated, and enthusiastic about their work.