STEAM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART and Mathematics)
STEAM Education is integrated into the daily curriculum engaging students in hands-on activities, projects and problem-based learning. Here are just a few examples of how STEAM content and themes are being implemented into the classroom.
Sewing Projects Inspire Minds, Interests and Patience
Grade 2 students completed their first sewing project with pride! Students sewed mini heart-shaped pillows and pockets for Valentine’s Day. They enjoyed learning how to make a running stitch and sew on a button. Threading a needle and tying a knot in the thread were challenging at first, but with perseverance, patience and support from Mrs. MacKinnon, the students became more confident in their skills and abilities. Some children have also begun personal sewing projects, which they eagerly work on when they arrive to class each morning. Grade 2 certainly has the itch to stitch!
During a weekly STEAM challenge, the Grade 3 students created an electrical circuit to light up LED lights and miniature lightbulbs using alligator clips, batteries, and lights. After every success, they received a new challenge with increased difficulty, adding miniature lightbulbs and more alligator clips until they were able to light both the lightbulb and LED light on the same circuit. The teams clearly understood the function of a simple circuit and are looking forward to building more complex circuits.
STEAM projects give students an opportunity to engage in hands-on, experiential learning. In all classes at The Priory, from Kindergarten through Grade 6, students often work in small teams using different materials and tools to problem-solve, and to “think outside the box”, while discovering how to build something, how it works and how to fix it. To further promote critical thinking and problem solving skills through STEAM, The Priory also hosts a weekly Friday afternoon STEAM based activities for Grade 4,5 and 6 students. If you were walking the corridors of The Priory last Friday, you would have seen students enthusiastically using math to simulate a bungee jump using a Barbie doll and rubber bands, while another group of students, with storyboard in hands, filmed a movie by using different camera angles and positions. Past the corridors into the library, a group of students were building a freestanding tower that can withstand a simulated hurricane, while the Grade 6 classroom had students engineering paper circuit greeting cards that light up, using copper tape, LED’s and coin cell batteries. Students are always excited to take part in these highly engaging, in-depth STEAM activities to solve challenging problems while fostering a love of STEAM.
Every Friday afternoon, our senior students work collaboratively in small productive teams to tackle science, technology, engineering, art and math challenges. These enrichment sessions give Priory students authentic and valuable hands-on learning experiences. From designing and building small-sized model landfills to help explore ways to decrease the risk of polluting the environment, to creating canopic jars for mummified apples to test the mummification process, students creatively think and problem-solve in an engaging, thought-provoking learning environment.
Corn Maze Challenge
The Grade 3 students eagerly wait for their monthly lunch bag STEM challenges. When asked to bring in empty shoeboxes, they knew that they were going to be designing, engineering, building and testing prototypes. Today’s challenge involved created a shoebox maze which included 3 dead ends, aclear entrance and an ending. The students accepted the challenge and created mazes that met these criteria. The experienced engineers went above and beyond and added tunnels, bridges, extensions, traps, and different levels of difficulty to their designs. Once completed, they had fun testing each other’s mazes and providing positive feedback and support.
A Virtual Expedition
Mrs. MacKinnon took her students on an immersive, virtual field trip to the Great Barrier Reef to explore dazzling corals, sea turtles, dolphins and tropical fish. The Expedition, guided by their teacher, was a 360-degree experience that allowed students to examine the coral structure and learn about exotic fish. "Oohs" and "aahs" filled the science lab as students pointed out all the interesting features to each other and their teacher while on this exciting journey!
Students Create Their Own Learning Space
After receiving their new flexible seating, 4th graders put their heads together in architect teams, to design a new learning space for their classroom. After taking measurements, discussing the needs of the classroom as a whole and writing a proposal, the students created an architectural mock-up of their classroom and invited an expert and Priory dad, Siamak Barin from BARIN LLP Architecture & Design, to answer their questions. The students will present their designs to the rest of the class focusing on a classroom that allows for flow, comfortable instruction and collaboration. We can’t wait to see Grade 4’s new learning space!
Battle of the Sumo Bots
One of the highlights of the Grade 5 Robotics class has always been the Sumo Bot class competition. The challenge for students is to design, build and program their very own autonomous robots using at least one sensor to battle each other and knock their opponent out of the ring. Eight sumo wrestling robots and their handlers took to the ring for a fierce class competition on Thursday morning, as roaring spectators from Grades 2,3 and 4 cheered them on. The young roboticists showed a strong team spirit and passion for robotics as their robots battled for 1st place. Congratulations to all the competitors and to KO Bot, co-engineered by Olivia Darlington and Karla Uranga-Jimenez, for capturing the win!
Engineering Groovy Dance Pads in Grade 4
After learning about electrical circuits and how they work with Mrs. Bouchard, Grade 4 students worked in small teams to build Dance Pads that allow them to try out some intricate dance steps to flash a light. Using electrical wire, aluminum foil, cardboard, a light bulb holder, light bulbs and masking tape, this STEM activity encouraged the engineering design process of building, testing and redesigning. Thanks to their creative designs, Grade 4 students can now break out into dance!
Assembly Line Snowmen STEM Activity
The Grade 1 budding engineers designed an assembly line for a snowman factory. The goal was to design the most efficient assembly line in order to create as many snowmen as possible in two minutes. With timer in hand, the Grade 1 teacher, Mrs. Kearney, directed the teams as they created three tiered snowmen with two eyes, a nose, a mouth, two twigged arms and a ribbon scarf. The keen “workers” were quick to discuss how to improve the assembly line and eager to try it out again. Excitement and pride were evident as they celebrated their success!
The Grade 3 budding architects built sturdy houses for The Three Little Pigs out of lasagna sheets, marshmallows, fettuccine, straws, toothpicks and clay. After planning their design, overcoming structural problems and persevering to find solutions, each structure remained standing after a 30 second blast of air .
The Most Magnificent Thing
Inspired by the book entitled, “The Most Magnificent Thing”, Grade 3 students were able to create their most magnificent creations, all while working on a STEM challenge. Each child was asked to select supplies, from seven large bags of recycled materials, that would allow them to create an object featuring at least one movable part or a part that allowed some other object to move. The students eagerly began designing, building and testing their simple machines. By the end of the two day challenge, the students learned various lessons including, perseverance, the problems in adding wheels that would actually turn, managing their imagination, sharing, weight distribution and working collaboratively. The classroom shelves held magnificent pulleys, elevator lifts, race cars, wagons, trailers, and cranes, only to name a few, for everyone to admire.
Row Row Row Your Boat
After learning about Christopher Columbus' voyage to North America on his famous 3 ships, the Grade 3 students were asked to design ships that could hold enough food, water, weapons and a large crew for over 2 months. Their designs were spectacular!
As an extension to their fictitious voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, the navigators were invited to solve a STEM aluminum paper boat challenge. In their groups of 3 or more engineers, they discussed, designed, built and tested out their 'boats'. The goal was to create a boat that could hold a minimum of 20 pennies before sinking. As they engineered their boats and tested them, the students cheered and encouraged each other. The testers looked on nervously as they gently counted their pennies and placed them strategically on the boat's surface. One boat actually held 202 pennies before sinking. Who knew they would discover the basic principles of weight distribution so well. At the end of the activity, one student added, "Mrs. Trionfo, when is our next challenge?" As soon as possible!
Raising Monarch Butterflies
Mrs. MacKinnon’s Grade 2 students have been raising Monarch butterflies in their classroom. The students had an opportunity to observe the development of butterflies first-hand as they metamorphose from caterpillar to a butterfly, all the while exploring science concepts such life cycles, transformations and adaptations. Students watched tiny caterpillars growing day-to-day, wrote about their observations and created illustrations in their “field journal”. On a sunny warm fall day, our Grade 2 entomologists helped release our Monarchs and wished them ‘bon voyage’ for their long migration to Mexico.
After studying the characteristics of a healthy ecosystem, food webs and how organisms interact with living and non-living elements, Mrs. Bouchard's Grade 4 students applied their knowledge by creating an ecosystem. With their blueprints of their structure in hand and using various materials, students built a model to show how an ecosystem works. To further enhance their understanding of ecosystems, the Grade 4 class visited and explored le Parc-des-Rapides, referred by many as a real jewel of Mother Nature.
Grade 5 is Hooked on Science
Imagine the reaction of the Grade 5 students after discovering a species of new bugs found in sewer water, that not only can clean contaminated water but are a source of protein, ate a little critter, for the sake of great teaching. The students’ reaction was disgust, horror and excitement all rolled up in one! What were some of the qualitative and quantitative observations the class made? “They look like tiny shrimp”, they don’t have a head or legs” and even asked “where are its eyes? The purpose of this fun STEM activity is to demonstrate, as a true scientist, the importance of careful and detailed observations and to teach about the behavior of gases in liquids.
Will it float?
Mrs. Kearney’s Grade 1 students put on their science thinking caps to explore if different types of fruit float or sink. One by one the children tested their predictions by dropping different fruit into a large bowl of water. Surprised by a few results, the students discovered that it is not necessarily the heavier or bigger fruit that sink.
STEAM MAKERSPACE CHALLENGE DAY
Grades 4 and 5 students participated in a hands-on, highly engaging STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) Challenge Day. In collaboration with LEARN (Leading English Education and Resource Network ) Quebec and Priory teachers, students worked in small teams to develop and present solutions to three STEAM challenges which included building simple circuits to make a LED light function; programming robots to go through an obstacle course; designing and building a pin wheel that spins; building a homopolar engine; designing and creating an art robot that can draw by itself;using a clay figure to make a movie, and creating a 3-dimensional model that uses two simple machines.