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Mother Teresa kids are putting STEAM in their learning

When the rockets go off, the Kindergarten kids at Mother Teresa are aiming for the stars if not the moon.

Chanting, “Go rocket go”, they sat with bated expectation to see what vertical heights their science experiment would ascend. Sure enough, one of the tiny rocket ships got propelled using the Alka-Seltzer mixture to the rooftop of the school.

All that fun is part of the STEAM project which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. People like Leonardo Da Vinci have demonstrated in the past the importance of combining the arts with science to make discoveries.

STEAM’s inclusion of the arts, specifically humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media may give it a step up over STEM which has science, technology, engineering and mathematics as its focus.

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Teacher Kristie Falk speaks to the inclusion of the arts from a young age in process of discovery.

“I love the fact that the kids can experience from a young age to be able to do science, technology, engineering, arts and math. So you are not limiting your students. You have the ability to try all these things to see what they do like.”

Falk encourages her kids to try different things, as they are better able to explore their interests and deepen their learning by actually doing an activity.

Some of their activities this week have been rock painting, where the kids paint their kindness rocks to encourage that virtue in the classroom. They also designed and painted kites which also went through the aerodynamic kid testing rigour.

As an inquiry-based school, Falk notes the comments of the kids as they explore how high a rocket might go with the addition of more of the active ingredient.

“The kids loved the idea of putting in extra tablets to see if it would go higher. They added carbonated water in there to see what would happen. I just love the fact that the kids get to say, ‘Let’s try this.’ I heard them say,’ I wonder what would happen if we do this?’ That’s what I love to see, that inquiry piece with the kids excited about learning.”

Falk surmises that STEAM projects allow kids to take the risk of trying a new activity in a safe environment. As they put their designing and creative spin on a project, the combination of arts with science provides the space for further inquiry-based learning.

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