“It was an innovative display of collaboration, community, and creativity,” Director of STEAM Modupe Oshin said.
For three days, the GFA Middle School embarked on a STEAM mini-term, a trans-curricular endeavor around the themes of transportation, car safety, STEAM careers, and emerging technologies.
After a week of MAP testing, the mini-term offered a unique opportunity to transcend the normal boundaries of the curricula structure, include outside experts, foster passion and excitement, and offer a break. These cross-curricular opportunities focused on engaging, hands-on learning vs. lecture-based learning.
The GFA STEAM program's standing principle is authentic innovation — powered by emerging technologies and rooted in rigorous STEM competencies. In line with the GFA mission, at its core is joy-filled collaboration, community, communication, creativity, and innovative problem-solving.
Inside the Classroom
Science classes, most familiar with STEAM activities, engaged students in the engineering design process, building and modifying car models, performing test crashes, and analyzing data to inform their processes. Meanwhile, in History, students researched the history of transportation safety, topics in driver's ed, innovations around driverless cars, and investigating energy challenges and opportunities.
Middle School math classes taught the different tradeoffs of owning a gas car versus an electric car through algebraic modeling. The classroom simulation will demonstrate the differences between car costs and emissions impacts trade-offs.
In Language classes, students engaged in design thinking practices in designing culturally relevant elements of a new airline in the target language, and in English, students wrote origin stories, drew journey maps, annotated poetry in an abstract visual language, and wrote pitches for historical patents.
Art students used electric BeeBots to draw circles and use music to inspire Kandinsky-inspired art. And in their free time, students had the resources to explore coding resources, engineering challenges, and videos related to STEAM fields.
During community times, students were engaged in a wide range of activities including BINGO games, films, challenges, and more. Students watched an interview with current students and alumni currently working in STEAM fields, watched a collection of emerging technologies on robotics and transportation.
Students played BINGO by exploring a Bitmoji STEAM maker space where they created google doodles, machine learning models, and origami, screened the film Science Fair, and played minute-to-win-it engineering challenges, tricycle races, and grade-wide egg toss competitions.