Science & Technology interpreted through Engineering and the Arts, all based in Mathematical elements
Since Friends school was founded in 1980, we have been inspiring and challenging our students to seek knowledge, be curious, solve problems, find their voice and work for a better world. To ensure that our students continue to reach for the stars, we have been hard at work creating vibrant, cutting edge, educational opportunities that will inspire our students and change lives. We are excited to announce that this year we will be introducing new programs, curriculum and extracurricular activities based in STEAM education.
What is STEAM?
STEAM= Science & Technology interpreted through Engineering and the Arts, all based in Mathematical elements
STEAM is a way to teach how all things relate to each other in school and in life. It’s more fun than traditional learning styles and makes more sense to all types of learners because it is based on the natural ways that people learn and are interested in things.
How will Friends use STEAM?
To integrate STEAM into our educational program, Friends School will use a variety of educational disciplines coupled with a growing network of business and community partners to create adaptable, citizen-involved, globally responsible, reality based educational programs.
Nature Learning Center
Starting in the fall of 2017 Friends School is launching a new initiative to build an outdoor learning center for our student’s grades pre-school through eighth grade. Studies show that an increasing number of children are losing contact with the natural world. The purpose of the Friends School Natural Learning Center is to promote physical movement, the development of sensory processing, motor, cogitative, social/emotional and communication skills, in addition to practical applications of Core Curriculum components, while providing students with a better appreciation and understanding of the natural environment.
The center will be comprised of an outdoor STEAM Lab/Garden where students will engage in hands-on learning in a living laboratory by applying the tenants of STEAM theories to real-world situations. The lessons used in the STEAM lab will not only teach the intended subject, but also responsibility, teamwork, and respect for nature, others, and themselves. Gardens have been proven to help students learn better, enhance test scores, and are an engaging way to meet Core Curriculum Content Standards. Whether growing vegetables, fruits, and a variety of herbs, edible gardens are a valuable tool that can promote healthier eating habits, an appreciation for locally-grown food sources, teach environmental stewardship, encourage community and social development, an instill a sense of place.
The STEAM Lab/Garden will be broken down into “four labs”-- a habitat lab for learning about plant and animal life; a systems lab focused on hydrology, ecology, and storm water management; a motion lab to teach proportions, mathematics, human movement and celestial bodies; and an energy lab to educate about food and waste management, with areas for seed sprouting, soil building and composing. Additionally, the STEAM Lab/Garden will feature a sensory green wall for students with disabilities.
Sustainable Tiny House Challenge
For the 2017/2018 school year, Friends is excited to introduce new curriculums and activities based in S.T.E.A.M education: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics. As part of this new program, we would like to offer our middle school students a multi-year social service project that encompasses core components of S.T.E.A.M education through the design and construction of a Sustainable Tiny House—a fully functional self-contained residential structure of less than 500 square feet. Upon completion, this house will be donated to a local organization that provides permanent habitation for those in need in our community. The goals of the Tiny House Project are for students to realize theories taught in various S.T.E.A.M lessons through real-world applications, while gaining essential life skills, sharing in team building and leadership experiences, and improving the lives of others.
While the focus of the challenge is on the STEAM Process, it also requires students to use a variety of skills in order to be successful, such as research proficiency, working in teams, writing composition, and presentation. This challenge is student-driven, with the teacher acting primarily as the facilitator for the majority of the lesson. Students are expected to take ownership of their design and will reflect on the project as a whole at the end of the lesson.
The STEAM Garden and Tiny House Challenge are just the first STEAM curriculum experiences we are planning to offer as part of the Friends School Program. Each year, we will add new offerings that will inspire and motivate our students to explore the world around them.
With the STEAM program Friends School hopes to fire up the artistic right brain along with the logical left brain and give our kids a broader view that inspires even more inventive and innovative thinking–the kinds of problem-solving skills that lead to success in a variety of STEAM careers. When it comes to helping our kids expand their worlds, we want to keep all avenues open. We invite our Friends School families to stick around and see the magic of STEAM unfold!