- Kent School District
STEAM - A Focus in KSD
Ashley Dwight, a third grade teacher at Kent Mountain View Academy, is one example of how a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) culture is fostered in our schools. Her students concluded an intensive study of how an orphaned orca whale was reunited with her family, with a deeper goal of promoting student stewardship by highlighting the community’s involvement and active role in this project.
“What excites me about teaching science is helping students see connections from classroom learning to real world phenomena. Through the process, I’ve witnessed that even young learners develop their deep passion, curiosity, and empathy for various causes. This reassures me that the purpose for 'doing' science is so someday students can apply these skills as scientists for a real cause they truly care about. This in turn makes me fulfilled and inspires me to be a better teacher!” Ashley Dwight.
Her students’ thoughts on the new and challenging lessons included:
Abigail “I have never done ANYTHING like this, I don’t think anyone has! This year is WAY different because in second grade we haven’t done BIG experiences like this. I LOVE science! I am always in a rush to do science, it’s so exciting!”
JoJo/Gretchen “It’s learning and fun at the same time! … It’s actually about measuring, observing, writing, math, and solving problems to figure out a solution to a real-life problem.”
Zoha "It is fun and exciting because we are doing what real scientists are doing!"
Don "What excites me about science is when I experience some technology to learn about living things like Orcas. Some people say that if you help living beings they will help you someday in life."
Brooke "Science in third grade is fun and interesting because it makes you wonder in your mind what will happen next. It makes you think a lot and make decisions as a group."
STEAM is an instructional shift that should reach all subjects; a mindset and way of thinking that demands students to tap into skills like collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. It should not be limited to teachers of only those four subject areas in the acronym. Students need to see beyond the content areas in the acronym, to realize their greater potential.
STEAM literacy is achieved when a student is able to apply his or her understanding of how the world works within and across the four interrelated STEAM disciplines to improve the social, economic, and environmental conditions of their local and global community.
A culture of STEAM in our schools will produce students who are:
■ Collaborators solving problems by working together over a longer period of time.
■ Creators with innovative ideas that will strengthen our economy, our position in the global marketplace, and our democracy.
■ Critical thinkers valued for their ability to analyze, determine, and evaluate multiple solutions to solve complex issues or reach an end goal.