STEAM at TCS
STEAM is the antithesis of the silo approach to learning and teaching. The integrated nature of a STEAM study requires an intentional connection between lesson design and implementation, standards, and assessment. Teachers plan opportunities in which the disciplines intersect, allowing the mind of the scientist to interact with the mind of the artist or designer.
Through STEAM collaborations, students gain confidence as they share their own skills, knowledge, and thinking, and they experience empathy as they gain an appreciation for others’ talents and perspectives. Just as students learn from their classmates, teachers are able to draw on the expertise and energy of their peers. The end result is learning that is far richer and deeper for all.
STEAM explorations can take place anywhere: in one of our three STEAM Labs; in classrooms, both indoor and outdoor, across campus; and off campus during field trips.
How We Do It: A TCS STEAM Curriculum
Working with teaching colleagues, with our STEAM coordinators, and sometimes with outside experts, Country School teachers have drawn up in-depth curricula for all grade levels – PreSchool-8th Grade– with lessons designed to enhance both the traditional subjects and the skills our students will need as they enter an interconnected, globalized world. Below are a few samples of Country School STEAM units. For more, visit the STEAM Snapshots blog.
We have seen the following outcomes for students as a result of our STEAM curriculum:
- Divergent thinking
- Real world application of content
- Ability to assess their own learning through metacognitive practices
- Performance tasks and knowledge extension is evident in innovative project creation and collaboration
- Positive attitudes toward school and learning
- Strong test scores - our students scored at or above achievement level of countries in the top 10 percent of performance on the TIMSS test (click here for more)
- Placement in top secondary schools and colleges (click here for more)
- Awards in local and state Robotics Tournaments (click here for more)
In addition to improving student outcomes, STEAM has developed our teachers’ capacity in the following ways:
- Increased creativity in classroom
- Improved practice
- Changed perceptions about teaching and learning
- Increased collaboration
- Higher morale
- Ongoing learning in content areas and instructional methodology
Since adopting a STEAM model five years ago, The Country School has shared its learning in a variety of ways: by hosting collaborative summer Teacher Institutes focusing on STEAM, Design Thinking, and brain-targeted teaching and learning; through periodic educator workshops on campus; and by opening STEAM events to area students and families. Country School teachers have also been invited to facilitate STEAM workshops at outside conferences.
The following educational experts were featured at Country School Teacher Institutes, and their educational philosophies, curricula, and professional development methodology are a part of The Country School’s curriculum:
- Mariale Hardiman, co-founder and director of the Johns Hopkins University School of Education’s Neuro-Education Initiative and creator of The Brain-Targeted Teaching Model
- Amy Hillman, a scholar practitioner who utilizes active learning strategies to engage every student and teaches at the International Academy of Science in Independence, Missouri
- Amy Leidtke, an industrial designer, artist, and Rhode Island School of Design educator who specializes in Design Thinking and arts-infused academics
- Tom Pilecki, co-author of the book From STEM to STEAM: Using Brain-Compatible Strategies to Integrate the Arts
- Bill Jackson, an international authority on Japanese and Singapore mathematics and lesson study