Science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics are important subjects in traditional school curriculums. Combining these five disciplines through an interdisciplinary and integrated approach is the definition of STEAM learning and is the way more and more schools are choosing to educate their students. This is also true here at ASH, with STEAM steadily becoming an important pillar in our curriculum across all divisions and ages. Recently, our youngest learners received new resources and equipment to aid their STEAM learning thanks to the PTO and their focus on funding STEAM initiatives here at ASH.
We checked in with Mr. Rynearson, ECC Science & Technology teacher, about what’s currently happening in his classroom and how he is using the new equipment, including Lego Coding Express kits (see photo).
What specific STEAM learnings can the students take away from using the coding kit and the digital microscopes?
Mr. Rynearson: The LEGO kit brings a connection to the computer science curriculum that is being developed in kindergarten and grade 1. Students are learning basic concepts and skills of computer science, such as understanding systems, the role of communication for systems to work, the design process and simple programming. The LEGO Coding Express (kit) is a developmentally appropriate first step for our young students, in preschool and transitional kindergarten to work together while making choices and reinforcing some basic computer science concepts.
The digital microscopes are great tools to extend the use of iPads in the wider elementary school. These microscopes will be shared between the ECC and the Upper Elementary classrooms. They allow students to look closely at various specimens and at the same time capture images on iPads to later be used to express their learning.
What are your hopes for the future of STEAM learning in the ECC?
Mr. Rynearson: One of my hopes is to continue to develop the beautiful grounds of the ECC into an integral part of the overall learning environment. We have expanded the garden resources, from a rich preschool and transitional kindergarten program, to include areas for planting for kindergarten and grade 1. There are plans for adding a greenhouse next school year to create opportunities for students to develop a green thumb even in late winter and early spring. Ideally, STEAM experiences will continue to find natural connections with the rich learning that is taking place every day at the ECC.
University preparatory program for ages 3-18. Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges - Commission on International Education (NEASC-CIE), following the personalized ACE Learning pathway of NEASC-CIE.