All STEAMed Up!

    Currently, STEM, STEAM, STREAM, are very popular phrases in education.  As we look towards the future, it is these fields which offer the most growth and opportunity.  At first, educators talked about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and then they added STEAM (the Arts), and eventually, the term has expanded to STREAM (research). The “A” in STEAM actually refers to a broad definition of the arts, going well beyond aesthetics. It includes the liberal arts: Language Arts, Social Studies, Physical Arts, Fine Arts and Music that each shape developments in STEM careers. As a former English major possessing an expertise in reading and writing development, I must admit, I had felt a little left out of the STEAM revolution at first.  Where was my place at the table in this new trend?  I sat back and thought a moment and smiled – of course, the place for reading and writing in STEM-STEAM-STREAM is everywhere – it is the very foundation of all learning.  Reading fuels curiosity and knowledge; writing solidifies what we know and connects us to other people and other ideas.  Without these, STEM would run out of steam(pun intended)!

    In the Primary, from the very beginning, teachers are well aware of the importance of integrating STEAM into all areas of the curriculum. Recently, the Pre-K students were engaged in learning about various fairy tales and read many versions of The Three Little Pigs.  During their study, teachers asked students to build a house that could withstand the huffing and puffing of the Big Bad Wolf.  The children worked in small groups to design a house and then tested its sturdiness. 

    Throughout the year, the Pre-K teachers have purposely integrated STEAM activities in all subject areas and have utilized our Exploratorium – Wonder Lab in the Annex to work on various science and engineering projects.

    Indeed, at all grade levels, students are engaged in all types of STEAM-based learning: in Math, Science, Technology, and in the general classroom through open-exploration and specific projects. To celebrate this spirit of ingenuity, in February, the Primary School will host two STEAM nights designed by our Math Curriculum Coordinator, Maureen Kroeger, and our team of intrepid teachers. This year’s focus will be on Engineering. We hope you and your daughters will be able to join us for a night of fun and creativity. This year, our JPK/PreK Read & Write Night on Tuesday, March 27th will also focus on STEAM activities. Below is a list of skills that we consider when designing STEAM projects.

    Important Skills Utilized in STEAM Curricula:

    • Creativity– starting with “What if…” and imagining various possibilities.
    • Problem Solving– thinking about tackling real-life problems.
    • Perseverance– gaining stamina and resilience.
    • Confidence– building self-esteem through the process of experimentation and regarding one’s self as a competent problem-poser and problem solver.
    • Focus– attending to the problem and task at hand and following through.
    • Design Thinking – (6-steps of Design Thinking)
    1. Identify: Think about and naming the problem to solve.
    2. Empathize: Determine who the user of the solute would be.
    3. Define: Write the full scope of the problem.
    4. Ideate: Brainstorm multiple ideas to solve the problem.
    5. Prototype: Begin to build the idea.
    6. Test: Determine if the prototype worked. Add any additions and fix any mistakes.
    • Giving/Receiving Constructive Feedback– learning how to give peers constructive feedback and knowing how to respond to constructive feedback.
    • Collaboration– working together on a goal and seeing it through to the end.
    • Presentation– sharing your work with others and thinking through how best to engage your audience.

    Mrs. Afir, Mrs. Jones-Wentz, and I created a list of great books about Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math that you may way to read with your children. Please click the link below to access the list.

    STEAM Suggesting Reading List

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