Middle School STEAM Week took place from the 9th – 13th of April.
So what does the acronym STEAM stand for?
S – Science
T – Technology
E – Engineering
A – Arts
M – Mathematics
The celebration of STEAM Week is yet another example of the multidisciplinary learning approach at ISS. This approach was made explicit to our Grade 6-8s through the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which they were inquiring into at their Humanities class. Creating an awareness of these goals, how these goals aim to tackle and solve many socioeconomic developmental issues, and the part that each student can play to make an impact and difference to the wider community were considered in Humanities. The hypothesis, solutions, and models were how the students applied their knowledge acquired in Science to research, create, and develop their exhibits and presentations at STEAM Week.
STEAM Week was jam-packed with activities! There were exhibitions, displays, talks, and even an interactive trail.
Our Grade 8 students presented on “Electromagnets for the Future or Metals for Modernisation”. They showed a good grasp of inquiry-based learning, and did their research very thoroughly. At the end of their presentations, they hypothesised on how their chosen topics could affect the world in the future, showing that they understood that what they had learned in school can affect change for the future.
The collaborative exhibits from our Grade 7 students showed sustainable and resilient homes for climate-induced natural hazards. There were many examples of creativity and innovation in the room! After the research work that each pair did, the students ‘dreamt up’ new and interesting solutions to present climate change problems, with one pair of students thinking outside of the box and designing a house to withstand forest fires in Arizona.
Our Grade 6 students eagerly showed us the water filters they created. With live demonstrations of the filters in action and very detailed explanations of their chosen materials to build their filters, the Grade 6 exhibition was an exciting, interactive experience that could be enjoyed even by the Elementary School students who popped by for a visit to learn more from the Grade 6s!
Our Grade 6 students also designed “Sustainable Containables” in an effort to reuse plastic containers (in this case, plastic bottles) in a way that could potentially benefit the environment. Non-biodegradable plastic bottles were transformed into “Sustainable Containables”, in the form of planters and are now new homes for many different plants. There were also Pachinko games to enjoy, courtesy of our Grade 7 students, who employed their engineering, math, and design skills to build these Pachinko games in order to entice as many players as possible.
There were also talks by four guest speakers, and from our very own Drama teacher, Mr. Lebon. Our panel of guest speakers included a marine biologist, a biomedical engineer, an education representative from WWF Singapore, and the Bamboo Straw Girl: Melissa Lam. The talks by the marine biologist and biomedical engineer were, of course, more geared towards the Science, Technology and Engineering aspects of STEAM, where each shared insights into what they do in their respective fields of work and how they attempt to facilitate responsible practices in their work. On the Arts aspect of STEAM, we had Mr. Lebon, who talked about the integration of science and technology with drama. He even had the Drama Club students perform a rendition of ‘Urine Town’ to strengthen his message! The education representative from WWF Singapore, shared about climate change and how this affects both humans and animals alike and what we can do to help save our planet, whilst the Bamboo Straw Girl, Melissa Lam, advocated for sustainable practices.
At the end of STEAM Week, our students, who had worked very hard on their exhibitions, were treated to a fun interactive trail on climate change using AR technology. The students went around the hall armed with iPads, eager to play some games! To begin the game, the students first had to earn a star by answering some questions, the answers to each question were on WWF posters around the room. The games then popped up on the iPads based on one of four pictures that each student chose to interact with, and was based on climate change issues. Since these games utilised AR technology, students had to interact with the pictures in the ‘correct’ manner, some even climbing on chairs or moving the pictures to get the right angle. These games were not only a way for our students to let off some ‘steam’ but also taught them something about climate change along the way.
STEAM Week was an experiential and ‘ knowledge and information-rich’ week for our Middle School students. With the strong inquiry-based work that each did, listening to talks from experienced practitioners and educational games that they participated in, each student walked away with the knowledge that they can affect positive change for the future!