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Educators at Jesse Keen Elementary, like so many schools around the district, are tackling the challenge of incorporating science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) into all areas of their curriculum.
As part of this effort, officials developed a STEAM lab for students in kindergarten through 5th grade. On a typical day, you can find students learning about subjects such as the states of matter. Some of the lesson activities may include students observing and comparing two substances and then mixing them with water to determine how the substance has changed. Students would then have to decide whether they had created a compound or a mixture.
Students are also presented with STEAM activities layered heavily with engineering and mathematics that require cooperative learning, higher order thinking, and problem solving skills. In order to meet the requirements to produce creative and innovate thinking, these lessons are purposefully integrated with the arts.
Dana Burroughs, a science instructor at Jesse Keen Elementary explains, “Without giving students the opportunity and freedom to ‘create and design,’ it becomes very difficult to ask them to ‘create and design’ for innovation in their engineering projects. The arts are a vital component to all areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Without incorporating the arts, students will struggle to compete for the many career choices that now incorporate science or technology with artistic and creative design.”