Full STEAM Ahead!!!

School News October 31, 2022
Full STEAM Ahead!!!

Contrary to popular belief STEAM (the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) is a cross-curricular approach to teaching and learning and is not limited to only science, mathematics or arts enthusiasts. The principles of STEAM aim towards developing 21st century learners by instilling in them values that promote creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication. Driven by inquiry and fostered by independent thinking, an analytical approach to problems and teamwork, STEAM lessons are designed to make students feel confident doing hands-on work to find solutions to real world problems. Literacy and presentation skills are sharpened in this process as well.

STEAM lessons at WAS Changzhou are designed to help boost learning and extend our learners’ repertoire of knowledge and skills, supporting the schools’ aims of  Enrichment and Extension. This is adopted via different means in both Lower and Upper schools.

In the Lower school STEAM is embedded within the curriculum by allocating these lessons in our learners’ daily timetables. Dedicated theme-based lessons every week encourage practical skill development and reinforce concepts learnt in science, mathematics and topic lessons. Students are expected to work in groups to complete challenges based on real-world contexts, both local and global.

These challenges range from building a model, conducting scientific investigations, or even for creating a musical instrument to investigate how sounds are created. STEAM activities are enjoyed by all our Lower School students and teachers love the enthusiasm and curiosity that is invoked. Building bridges using popsicle sticks; rubber band powered boats; thinking about why lightning occurs as they learn about static electricity; all STEAM lessons are planned with the idea of developing critical thinking, reasoning and problem-solving skills among our learners.

Upper School students have a busy schedule filled with academic and non-academic lessons and so, for them STEAM is incorporated in our dedicated E&X (Enrichment & Extension)  sessions. Learners are allowed to choose two E&X activities per term, ones that they are interested in and want to pursue further in university and life. These are non-academic sessions and meant to enrich students, hence they are not assessed. Students are encouraged to work on projects, some of which might earn them an award or recognition. Some activities engage students in hands-on activities like 3D printing using pens and software. Robotics, coding and programming are popular activities and these are provided across various level in upper school with varying levels of complexity.

Learning about sustainability and the biodiversity around us is essential for our future world citizens. Incorporating these ideas in both Lower and Upper School is at the core of our beliefs. Designing and setting up mini tropical rain forest from scratch in a controlled environment and reviving and maintaining a coral reef is one of the enriching activities our learners appreciate and participate with enthusiasm.

The Science Department has made its foray into offering Food Science and Food Technology as an option to our Grade 9 students this year and this is complemented by a STEAM E&X called ‘Chocolate Factory’. This offers multiple cross-curricular opportunities and life skills our students will need in the future.

STEAM at WAS Changzhou is steaming ahead in full force and has been well accepted and loved by all our students and teachers. The hands-on activities are a welcome break from regular academic lessons and teach students important skills necessary for their future education and life. For a lot of students these activities are meant to explore new avenues with the possibility of developing an interest, passion or skill supporting our school motto of “Every Child can Excel.”