From tinkering in second grade to our Upper School Makers’ elective, MCDS students are engaging in activities that combine different elements of science, technology, engineering, art and math on a daily basis. By continuing to integrate STEAM throughout the curriculum, we are preparing our students for a world of innovation, creativity, problem-solving and collaboration. And, we are fulfilling our commitment to implement the STEAM initiative articulated in Strategic Plan 2012.
A prime example of this is the augmented reality (AR) sandbox built by two (then) sixth graders. The AR sandbox was a result of their end-of-year sixth grade science inquiry project where they were asked to research, design and develop a project of their choice related to a topic they studied during the year. They chose to make the focus of their project topography and watersheds. The students built and programmed the computer and made the sandbox during their tutorial and recess time. The AR sandbox is currently available in the Learning Resource Center for all students to explore various watersheds.
In Lower School, STEAM is integrated throughout the second grade curriculum. After watching Curious George’s “Fully Automatic Monkey Fun Hat,” students designed and created a hat for a classmate. This process involved interviewing a classmate to determine what type of hat would best fit their needs, exploring pulleys and levers and, ultimately, designing and creating a hat. This activity introduces many skills and concepts that students use later on in their second grade inventions unit.
Teachers continue to integrate STEAM into the curriculum K-8 and develop new opportunities for students to explore, design and create. For example, students learn basic coding skills in Lower School and we introduced a new coding curriculum in Upper School this year. Our Upper School Makers’ elective also gives students many opportunities to develop these important skills. The new science labs and classrooms that will be housed in the Creekside Building, currently under construction, will help to further support our STEAM initiatives.