March 29, 2019
What is STEAM?
By Stephen Saunier
Many are familiar with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), which is a movement that has become increasingly present in education over the past several years. Recently, the focus has evolved to include the related Arts, taking STEM to the next level. STEAM allows students to connect their learning in these core STEM categories with art practices, design principles, and the humanities. This integration across the curriculum is an approach that allows students to wonder, critique, inquire, and innovate.
At Montessori School of Anderson, we feel that the STEAM curriculum fits firmly into our goals of educating the entire student. By integrating all of these practices together, we give a more whole and wide view of education. This allows the student room to explore their interests more fully and build education beyond the walls of each specific class. This past year, three of our teachers (Dr. Mahajan, Mr. Dabney, and Mr. Saunier) took part in STEAM training through SCISA and have been implementing this training on-site to implement a STEAM program. We have also begun the process of certification through SCISA and hope to become one of the first SCISA-certified STEAM schools this year!
The Middle School has put STEAM time into their weekly schedule, and it has been a tremendous success so far. Some of our projects have included building catapults to launch pumpkins, creating pan flutes using PVC pipes, engineering towers out of various materials, the Fluor volleyball challenge in which students constructed simple machines to launch a ball back and forth over a net, building aluminum foil boats, and many more. These projects have all focused on not only designing a solution but reflecting upon the designs and improvements that could be made in subsequent iterations.
In a cross-level STEAM activity, students in Lower Elementary looking to determine whether or not corn on the cob was alive planted a corn cob as an experiment to test their hypotheses. When, after a couple of weeks, the corn cob was covered in sprouts, the students wanted to test whether the sprouts were growing from the cob or the kernels. So, the students revised their experimental setup and involved Middle School students in the Technology Club in order to monitor the growth after planting a new corn cob. Eighth grader Daniel Keenan was able to configure a Raspberry Pi computer connected to a camera to record an image of the growth once every fifteen minutes and upload them to a Google Drive album for remote monitoring. Those images combined to make this great video showing the growth of corn and kidney beans over nearly three weeks in March.
Beyond our basic STEAM projects, we have also been working towards building a makerspace (a collaborative work space for engineering products using a variety of processes and technologies) at the school as well as various technology projects. Our students have participated in the Hour of Code, created their own virtual and augmented reality designs with CoSpaces, created interactive posters and video games with Scratch and Makey Makey, and coded robots to solve mazes and perform tasks. We feel that our increased STEAM integration will help bolster student involvement, and bring them to place where their education goes beyond just what they learn in a class -but how it integrates into real life, and can be applied to problems and solutions.
Dates to Remember
April 6 - Strings Concert at Daniel Recital Hall, Anderson University, 10 a.m.
April 11 - Barbecue and Lower Elementary Play
April 15-22 - Spring Break -- see note about schedule below
April 23 - Annual Report
Spring Break falls on April 15-22 this year. On Monday-Thursday, April 15-18 and Monday, April 22, all programs will be closed, but extended day will be available. On Friday, April 19, all programs will be closed and no extended day will be available that day.
Music Is in the Air
Mock Trial Courtroom Journalist Competition
Lower Elementary Mentors
Primary Soccer Game
Safety Alert!!! Spring has sprung and there is a lot of joyful movement on our Montessori campus. For the safety of our many pedestrians, please reduce car speeds while on the MSA campus. Speed should be under 10 mph while on school property. Also, to keep traffic moving please do not park in front of the Main Office breezeway and leave your car unattended. If you have business in the office or in a classroom, please park in the lot. All visitors must register in the Main Office and receive a visitor pass. All carpool areas must be clear during arrival and dismissal times in order to expedite students' safe arrival and dismissal.
We appreciate your assistance with this matter.
With safest regards,
Susanna Merriman, RN