In recognition of National STEAM Day on Friday, November 8, Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) is showcasing how they prepare students for the future workforce through the integration of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) learning. STEAM is a learning approach that helps students learn how to think as opposed to what to think, by offering interest-based activities that provide students with the capacity to learn, the ability to evaluate and synthesize information, and the willingness to take on new challenges.
“As Calgary recognizes the need to support entrepreneurialism and technology start-ups, we are trying to ensure that our educational programming is also leading in these areas. It’s powerful to see the journey STEAM takes our students on. This kind of integrated learning creates a deeper understanding, a love of learning, and the confidence and desire to tackle real-world problems,” said Mrs. Alanna Wellwood, Director of Innovative Learning
It is predicted that 20 years from now, many of the available jobs do not yet exist today, so students must learn to be resilient, flexible, and open to creative problem-solving to be successful in a rapidly changing economy and world. Studies show that STEAM learning develops vital transferable skills and learning across subjects, through experimentation, trial and error, and creativity. Projects like the ones listed below enable students to work collaboratively, across disciplines, giving them essential skills for the future.
Here are a few examples of how STS integrates STEAM:
Programming to create client-based solutions
STS Grade 8 students are given a fictional client with identified needs (e.g. lack of physical accessibility, poor time management, problems with studying) and are tasked with designing a programmable microcomputer to help meet this client’s needs and to create a prototype with craft materials. As part of the STS design program, students have access to virtual reality, robotics, coding, 3-D printing, laser cutters, design programs, and other technology to aid them in creating visualizing, prototyping, testing, and eventually creating their designs.
After-school STEAM workshops
In collaboration with Calgary-based, STEM Learning lab, STS’ STEAM workshops provide STS Elementary and Middle School students with additional experiences to explore and be curious about. The STEAM workshops focus on computational thinking for students to develop and employ strategies in understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods:
student-created robots will then be put to the test against one another in a series of challenges designed to test both the limits of their individual designs and their ability to control their robots using a remote control.