Sierra Verde STEAM Academy students use the Engineering Design Process and work collaboratively in an inquiry-based learning environment that encourages finding creative solutions to real world problems. Our partnership with families and the community provides a supportive environment with high academic standards dedicated to maximizing critical thinking, innovation, productive struggle, and collaboration to drive learning and problem solving.
At Sierra Verde we know that STEAM is a vital component of education to set students up for success in the future. It is particularly important for middle-school aged children, who are going through a transitional time as they evolve from concrete to abstract thinking processes. This means that in addition to discussion-based learning, lessons for middle schoolers should include hands-on learning activities.
Below are some of the many benefits STEAM will provide our students this year:
1. Collaborative approach
Students are taught to learn to collaborate, especially when it comes to projects. They learn how to contribute their knowledge, skills, and talent in achieving common goals, and are prepared to become team players at work.
2. Encourages creativity
Instead of merely following fixed instructions or steps, students are encouraged to develop their own methods of solving problems or accomplishing a project. The STEAM curriculum emphasizes the fact that there are many possible approaches to problem-solving. It allows the students to use not only their technical knowledge, but also their imagination.
3. Improves social skills
Since the STEAM curriculum has a holistic collaborative approach, it also helps improve students’ emotional intelligence and social skills. They learn how to work with others and be expressive, and to become more socially adaptable. They will be able to deal with various types of personality and cultural background. Empathy, leadership, and friendship are also developed in this process.
4. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is about the ability to examine the factual and logical merit of a new set of information, and form a rational and informed opinion about certain issues. It’s about weeding out irrelevant and misleading information. Being able to transcend personal biases and avoiding irrational dogmatism are important in developing critical thinking skills.
5. Boosts curiosity
Students are encouraged to be inquisitive and curious about a wide range of topics. They are trained to ask deeper questions about how and why things work. This is the boundary between the humanities and the natural sciences.
6. Real-world applications
Students are taught not only theoretical and academic concepts, but more importantly, real-world applications of their knowledge and skills. Even when it comes to abstract mathematical concepts, students can be taught how to apply them in real life situations, such as household budgeting for instance.
7. Inquiry Based Learning
Students develop questions that require them to generate questions using constructed responses, further inquiry, and citation.