Mrs. Showalter shares insight into our STEAM program, which will be expanding significantly upon the completion of our new Upper School building in fall 2019.
Engineering and construction. Creating works of art. Experimenting with principles of science, mathematics, and technology. This is STEAM - a curricular program that fuses science, technology, engineering, art, and math to promote understanding through real-world problem-solving.
In its third year at the Country School, STEAM meets once a week, and next year all Upper School students will take STEAM. Beginning in fall 2019, STEAM will also begin in the Lower School to provide children with an opportunity to be exposed to even more critical thinking skills at a younger age.
STEAM presents an opportunity for kids to work kinesthetically on a project. My students delight in this style of learning and come to class each week with a great deal of enthusiasm. Whether we are outside planting a butterfly garden or inside building a tower, the main goal of the class is to explore learning through active engagement.
Rather than guide every stage of development efforts, in this program my role as a teacher is more of a “guide on the side.” As facilitator rather than instructor, I support my students’ ideas and encourage their creativity, and thus expose them to science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics in a way that promotes collaborative critical thinking. Students also incorporate knowledge and learning from other disciplines, enabling them to have a deeper understanding of what they have previously learned. Trial and error is an accepted and encouraged practice in this course. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”
Thanks to their creative minds, hard work and competitive spirit, my students enjoy the challenges provided for them in STEAM. They learn that teamwork can be difficult, but rewarding; that problem solving can be frustrating, but satisfying; and that creativity is not linear, but diverse.
STEAM projects are exciting, collaborative endeavors for both teachers and students. Our new, cutting-edge space with more resources for STEAM and other curricular exploration will add even more opportunities for our students that are already in an exciting program.
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