In Primary School, students engage in STEAM by exploring and investigating the world around them. STEAM strengthens reasoning and ignites curiosity in young minds in a fun and exciting way. At Grace, STEAM education is bigger and more powerful than the classroom and that’s why we implemented STEAM Days. Once a month, all Primary School students experience a full-day of hands-on lessons and developmentally appropriate activities. These messy, innovative days on the Outdoor Learning Center take students out of their normal learning environment and invites them to create new things, think and problem solve. Whether its learning about matter, gravity, sinking, floating, centripetal force or engineering, STEAM is happening everyday in Primary School.
From discovering the power of writing code, innovating new designs by snapping circuits together, or creating air drop packages with supplies, Grace Lower School students successfully engage in STEM when they are given a real-world problem to solve. Guided by the Engineering Design Process, students learn to ask questions to understand the problem, imagine ways to solve the problem, plan a design, create a product based on the design and test it, improve the product to be re-tested, and are then given a platform to articulate their findings. Grace Lower School is the first elementary school in Texas to receive AdvancED STEM Certification. This achievement is a mark of STEM distinction and excellence only offered to highly effective institutions that prioritize STEM education as a path to success.
At this stage, the courses become more rigorous and challenging. Special emphasis is placed on growing student capacity for developing STEM-related projects using LEGO Robotic Kits. LEGO Robotics uses LEGOS as a fun tool to explore mechanical systems, electronics, and computer programming. This lab experience provides students with resources to design, build, and program functional robots constructed from LEGOS. Students also acquire the presentation skills needed to communicate their findings. Awareness of STEM fields and occupations are highlighted as well as the academic requirements of such fields. Student exploration of STEM creates meaningful connections between society, work, education and obstacles faced globally, developing the critical thinkers and innovators the future requires.