How To Support STEM Education?

A boy looking at the light

In International Baccalaureate (IB) schools, STEM education is a journey of inquiry, innovation, and integration. How can you support STEM within this visionary educational framework? Here’s a practical guide to enhance STEM learning that aligns with IB’s mission of nurturing open-minded, knowledgeable, and caring young people.

Why is STEM Education Important?
STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach vital in a world where technology and innovation are omnipresent. Rather than teaching disciplines in isolation, STEM education integrates Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics into a unified curriculum.

  • S for Science: exploring the natural world through observation and experimentation.
  • T for Technology: not just computers, but the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes.
  • E for Engineering: the creative process of designing and building.
  • M for Mathematics: the abstract science of numbers, quantities, and shapes, the foundation for all STEM fields.

The benefits of STEM education are endless. STEM encourages students to engage in problem-solving and critical thinking, applying concepts to real-world issues. It offers young learners the tools to navigate and shape the future while challenging traditional stereotypes and promoting inclusivity.

How To Incorporate STEM in the Classroom Embrace STEAM

STEAM education expands upon traditional STEM by including an “A” for Arts. This vital aspect incorporates creativity into science, technology, engineering, and math, allowing students to make powerful emotional connections with these subjects. By blending arts with the scientific and mathematical curriculum, learners develop a more well-rounded understanding of the world. This approach promotes empathy, ethical consideration, and social awareness, enriching the educational experience.

Mara G. constructing her grape structure.

Mara G. constructing her grape structure.
Nitai P. decorating his tree cookie.

Nitai P. decorating his tree cookie.

Strelitz International Academy’s Tu B’shevat-themed STEAM fair, held for K-5 students on January 25, 2024, was a festive fusion of nature and learning. Kids enjoyed hands-on, imaginative projects that covered all STEAM areas. They built cookie trees, planted seeds, and tasted different fruits like barley, figs, and dates. Art met language skills as they created grape sculptures and spelled with pomegranates. It was an event full of learning and laughs, surrounded by a taste of nature.

Encourage Project-Based Learning

Another effective way to support STEM education is through project-based learning (PBL), which encourages students to gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period on a project that engages them in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. Strelitz International Academy’s approach to PBL allows students to delve deeply into renewable energy, robotics, or space exploration.
For example, our sixth graders undertook a month-long project in STEM Olympics last year to design a sustainable community. They researched different energy sources, calculated budget constraints, and designed scale models with 3D printing technology. PBL covered their STEM requirements and honed their social studies skills as they considered the impact of technological advancements on society.
Incorporating project-based learning into the curriculum fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility in students as they become more active participants in their education. This method also aligns seamlessly with the IB’s emphasis on inquiry and independence, preparing Strelitz students for the complex challenges of the future.

Nurture Collaboration and Communication

Strong STEM education is built on communication and collaboration among students. One way to achieve this is to set up interdisciplinary group projects that require learners to work together towards a common goal.
Educators can create a ‘Community Science Lab’ to enable students from various grades to collaborate on experiments and projects and share insights across different levels of scientific understanding. This type of environment inspires teamwork and communication skills as well as helps students learn from one another. By working in groups, they can tackle complex problems that they might not be able to solve individually, preparing them for the collaborative nature of higher education.

How You Can Make a Difference

Are you eager to support STEM initiatives and contribute to educating our youth? Here are some ways to make an impact and amplify the initiative:

Your involvement, whether through time or resources, shapes the innovative thinkers of tomorrow. Email us at csimon@strelitzacademy.org or call 757.424.4327 and see how we create the next world leaders with STEM in early childhood education. Schedule a visit today!

Innovative Learning Through Technology in IB® Education

A girl is watching tablet

Technology is not just a tool, but a catalyst for transforming education. In IB® schools, technology is integrated into the curriculum to enhance learning, foster creativity, and develop global citizenship. In this blog post, we at Strelitz International Academy (SIA) will share some examples of how technology is used in IB® education to create innovative learning experiences for students that are fun, engaging, and meaningful.

Technology as a Medium of Inquiry and Expression

One of the key features of IB® education is the inquiry-based approach, which encourages students to ask questions, explore topics, and construct their own understanding. Technology in schools provides a medium for students to access information, communicate their ideas, and collaborate with others.

For example, in the SIA Primary Years Program (PYP), students use digital tools such as Activboards, Smartboards, or Epson BrightLink projectors to research, create, and present their projects. Beyond technology in the classroom, students can access computers in our library and dedicated computer lab. Our learners attend weekly computer classes to learn digital citizenship, keyboarding, documentation, and design. With digital projects that break down topics like the lifecycle of a butterfly, they can express themselves creatively and artistically.

Technology as a Means of Connecting and Collaborating

Another big feature of IB® education is the emphasis on global awareness and intercultural understanding. Technology fosters a sense of community and belonging among students, teachers, and parents. For example, the EY4 Program has a cherished tradition known as the “Family of the Week” project.

In this post-pandemic era, when some families physically can’t be in the classroom, this initiative has become even more significant. With the help of technology, parents, siblings, and extended family members have joined virtually on Google Meets, becoming part of our classroom community. These moments of connection have allowed students to learn about different careers, family traditions, hobbies, and much more directly from their classmates’ families. Watch this video to learn more about the Early Years Program!

Technology as a Source of Inspiration and Innovation

The ultimate goal of IB® education is to inspire and empower students to become lifelong learners and positive contributors to society. Technology provides a source of inspiration and innovation for students to pursue their passions, interests, and goals. For example, our school celebrated SIA STEM Day on February 27th, 2023, a day dedicated to expanding the horizons of our students from kindergarten through fifth grade through hands-on activities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Explored through the lens of sports, students engaged in various activities, such as bobsledding and basketball, with each event teaching scientific and technological principles. They built models, learned about the impact of potential and kinetic energy on motion, and effectively applied the IB® Approaches to Learning in Thinking, Communication, Self-Management, and Research.

Call us at 7574244327 , email csimon@strelitzacademy.org, or Schedule a visit with Strelitz International Academy today to learn more about how we celebrate IB® technology in education!

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