Update from our STEAM Coordinator, Robert Hazelwood
20 September 2021
STEAM is an approach to teaching that develops resilience, curiosity and learners who are not afraid to fail, they learn from their mistakes and collaborate with others.
The shift from STEM to STEAM is an important one in my opinion. The ‘A’ in STEAM can often be interpreted as ‘Art’, and this can give people a vision of adding an element that simply incorporates the skill of painting or drawing. The ‘A’ stands for all Arts including; humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media.
The ‘A’ in STEAM adds massive value to pupils’ approach to the Sciences and Technology. As a Physics teacher I often observe pupils that have good problem-solving skills and deductive reasoning, however pupils that have been exposed to the Arts more during either lesson time, as a co-curricular or super-curricular subject are generally much more able to think critically and collaborate with peers and the wider world. These skills lead to innovative and communicative pupils, that leave school with a well-rounded skill set that prepares them better for the real working world.
STEAM education should be inclusive. It allows all pupils to realise their strengths and develop their weaknesses, whilst passively applying all STEAM subjects towards an engaging project. At the start of this new academic year we have started many activities that effortlessly enable students to improve their hard and soft skills. Music teachers learn alongside pupils whilst using electronics and programming to turn carrots into a piano! Computing teachers are working with the Drama Department to design, make and code a character for an upcoming performance. We will welcome external primary schools to visit the Dyson building and complete a series of STEAM challenges whilst working collaboratively. We will hold national and international robotics competitions. Junior pupils are building LEGO Sumo bots on a Tuesday during GAPs and we have senior and junior VEX robotic teams that have the possibility of travelling to Texas USA if they make the final. Other activities include; Painting with Chemistry, Eco STEAM, Electronics and 3D printing, Build and race an electric car, Practical Science skills, AI Robotics. We aim to add and change activities on a termly basis.
There will be a STEAM week on 29th November – 5th December when we will welcome external speakers during chapel, hold a STEAM careers fair for STEAM industries to showcase their work with ‘hands on’ interaction. There will be competitions during STEAM week and possibly an opportunity for students to try gliding across the school field! There will be a school trip on the Sunday to promote STEAM.
Pupils have missed so many opportunities over the past couple of years to be ‘hands on’ and ‘make stuff’ due to the Covid pandemic. They are thirsty for practical projects and play. Play is underestimated, there is much research that shows when pupils are happy and engaged they accelerate their learning and are able to handle a much higher ‘traffic’ of information.