This project started back in earlier 2018 with one sole purpose in mind: to provide a theme based STEAM-like 10 week course at a traditional private elementary school. (To learn more about the school, please read below). I was the sole pilot of this program, and now this program has expanded to grade 3, 4, 5, and 6 each with their own theme and learning objectives. I am very glad and blessed to have had this opportunity to carry out this project, but it wasn’t without it hurdles. To check the progress of each theme/grade, click on the corresponding link within the “STEAM Project” menu. To read more about this program, continue reading below.
What is SDU Experimental Elementary School?
What is STEAM?
For those that are new to idea of STEAM, it is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. It was initially referred to as STEM (no Arts), but later changed to include it. STEAM has a unique history which you can read more about it here, but to summarize it is a way to teach kids of all ages to problem solve and bridge together subjects; focusing on more critical thinking, inquiry, and hands on learning to say the least. STEAM has always resonated with me as I am a very hands-on learner myself, but also because my training IB has also taught me to teach using 21st century techniques and not just lecture, lecture, and lecture.
Like I mentioned earlier, developing a STEAM course is certainly not an easy task. Designing the program by myself wasn’t the only hard part, but taking into the fact that the grade 6 students had a low English proficiency level and never being exposed to this type of learning made it even harder.
Initial STEAM Project – The Great Potato
There were a few things that I had to take into account when developing this 10 week course. The school also wanted me to teach them English and only use potatoes as the sole theme for this course. That means any project must incorporate potatoes; no exceptions. Initially I kept telling myself how the heck am I supposed to do STEAM with only a potato? It’s so narrow-minded of them to choose only one thing and use it as a theme. How can I make the next 10 weeks meaningful and not bore the kids so that they lose interest? I really hated this theme in the beginning but as I slowly developed my course, I began changing my mind. So here I present to you my 10 week schedule for this program:
Each week includes a list of objectives and goals which will be described individually. Even though I was the sole developer, I wanted to change the classroom dynamic so I invited other students and teachers from Menaul to come teach certain weeks. It is also important to note that because of time restrictions and the learning abilities of grade 6’s, not all objectives were met. If you look even more closely, this course does not only encompass the subjects within STEAM, but also subjects and topics outside of STEAM including history, geography, nutrition, and basic scientific methods.
To read the outcomes and objectives, please visit the week listed in the menu.