The four minute video (see below) will give you a window into Westminster Schools’ efforts to design a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) program for students that helps them integrate their learning from different disciplines. Dozens of teachers are collaborating across K-12 boundaries to design and implement projects that have a STEAM focus. Many of these STEAM projects are being embedded into our formal curriculum, transforming how teachers think about integrated studies. We are exploring ways for students to develop skills for solving complex, relevant, and real-world problems.
We have 25+ K-12 teachers who meet weekly before school to talk about how their curriculum connects to the larger STEAM initiative. They present to one another, co-design projects, and take their learning back to their classroom. In the classroom, they collaborate with their students to implement projects of extraordinary creativity. The work culminates in a school-wide STEAM showcase event in late February.
The Middle School just concluded a nine-month STEAM faculty cohort that took on the challenge of thinking about how to build integrated curricula with a STEAM focus. Eight teachers co-labored over 75 hours of face-to-face meetings to discuss what STEAM curricula or courses might look like. We studied the idea of threshold concepts and looked for ways to integrate them into existing courses or designing courses around a threshold concept. We facilitated a faculty meeting in which 80 Middle School teachers explored a set of threshold concepts, looking for ways to connect their courses to the concept. From this work a new STEAM cohort of ten teachers across all the disciplines have assembled to collaborate and design projects that are built around a threshold concept or big idea.
Westminster Schools is not sitting back waiting for STEAM to enter the larger conversation about how to improve meaning and relevance of a student’s learning experience. The faculty are leading the way and students are excited about the direction.