STREAM/MAKERSPACE AT ST. THERESA SCHOOL

STREAM – INTEGRATED/COLLABORATIVE/STUDENT ENGAGED/CROSS-CURRICULAR STUDIES AT ST. THERESA SCHOOL

SCIENCE – This area of STREAM is meant to allow students to explore a variety of science topics and Makerspace research projects.

TECHNOLOGY– Technolgy is one of the tools that drives the STREAM activities. It provides tools for research, data collection and utilization, design, collaboration, and sharing of their work.

RELIGION / READING – In some STREAM concepts the R aspect is limited to reading both non-fiction and fiction works that support the STREAM Unit theme. At St. Theresa school we use this as an opportunity for students to explore the scriptures, Catholic teachings, and religious thought and belief and how it relates to the unit theme we are studying in addition to including reading in the STREAM process. The Religion aspect of a STREAM Unit is often the starting point for the STREAM process.

ENGINEERING – Is the process of allowing students to design and create real-world objects that related to their STREAM Unit Theme. This can be done via a MakerSpace activity or via other Project Based Learning Experiences. The STREAM / MakerSpace Lab at the school provides tools and materials necessary for these activities.

ARTS – Movement, Music, and Art are essential parts of the development of a cross-curricular Unit Theme activity. An effort to integrate art, music, and movement activities into the Unit Theme with the help of the Specials teachers is an important aspect of the STREAM Units.

MATHEMATICS – Learning how to apply math skills they are learning to real-world problem solving is the primary focus of the STREAM Unit themes and activities. Students may learn new math concepts in order to accomplish tasks in the STREAM unit or they may simply learn how to apply skills they already know to those tasks.

STREAM Units can be teacher created or taken from print or Internet-based STEM, STEAM, and STREAM unit resources. Often these are built around some curricular area of studies such as Science, Social Studies, Religion, Reading, or Math. They can also be initiated by Specials teachers who are interested in working with the classroom teachers on Cross Curricular activities.

HOW ARE STREAM UNITS CONSTRUCTED:

A unit theme is chosen and the general theme is introduced to the students. Specific goals and objectives for the unit are also presented and discussed. The theme, goals, and objectives are posted throughout the STREAM Unit process so that students always have a reference point for their STREAM activities.

Classroom teachers and participating specials teachers meet to discuss what Projects and activities will work best for the student group that the STREAM Unit will be used with. All areas of the STREAM Process are discussed and at least one activity must be planned around each of the core STREAM components. Additional activities can be planned depending on the time being allocated for the STREAM Unit. The Technology teacher also often plans supplementary online WEBinars or other collaborative activities to cover materials that related to the Unit, but may not be available via in-house resources, or as an extension of some limited in-house resources.

Once the activities are selected a tentative timeline is created for the Unit and a basic schedule of activities is indicated in that timeline. If any activities will involve some aspect of homework, parents are notified of the STREAM Unit information and asked to assist their child with any at-home project activities. This also promotes parent engagement in the STREAM process.

The classroom teacher initiates the STREAM activities and then all supporting teachers join in the process based on their role in the planned activities. Often times teachers working on similar curricular topics can join together to do joint collaborative projects. In some cases, the Technology teacher will look for opportunities to collaborate with other schools in our area, the state, the nation, or around the world to enhance the students learning experiences.

Student projects should be showcased during the STREAM Unit Process as well as at the end of the STREAM Unit. In the future, it is hoped that we will be able to develop a more robust video component to the STREAM process that allows students to create and demonstrate their work so that it can be shared with the entire school community and the local community as well.

ROLES FOR SPECIALS TEACHERS – Since starting the STREAM activities at this school four years ago, we have gradually begun to work on integrating more of the Arts and in some cases Foreign language activities into the STREAM studies. Art is the easiest piece to integrate since all STREAM units have some aspect that lends itself well to doing some type of Art project.

Music is often incorporated when dealing with Sound Science and Wave energy theory, but can certainly be used to teach songs that may enhance the student’s understanding of a STREAM concept. Movement activities can include learning dance, learning why all physical education activities enhance body and brain function, and how those physical activities related to the chemical breakdown and utilization of nutrients in the body. The movement component can also emphasize rest, quiet listening, and other reflection activities that help improve bodily function and enable the body to recover and grow following physical activity.

Foreign language presents more of a challenge with STREAM learning. One area where this can be used is in the area of religion where students may be taught to understand the original Hebrew or Greek meaning of a scripture passage. In addition, some international student collaborations require at least a rudimentary understanding of simple greetings and verbal exchanges for the students to better participate in those activities.

Technology is the toolset that students use for many of the STREAM activities. Research, data collection, design, modeling, simulation, and project testing, as well as writing, presentation development, video and audio production. It can be used in all aspects of the STREAM process. With all students having access to technology tools in their classrooms they are well equipped to engage in the STREAM process.

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