STEAM and Design Thinking: The Student Voice

February 8, 2017 - 4 minutes read

Once a week our grade 6/7 students are involved in STEAM class with Mr. Andrews. Portia T. is one of our fine grade 7 students and was asked to share the student voice on this innovative aspect of iDEC learning at Caulfeild.

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When STEAM was first introduced to the grade 6/7 program I had no idea what it was or what it meant. I didn’t know what we were doing and wondered why we added a new subject. STEAM class gives us a chance to be more innovative and creative than we normally would be in other areas of our learning.

In first term we were assigned a challenge to build a house out of newspaper that would survive strong winds. We were given certain materials and a limit to how much we could use. We were given ten pieces of newspaper, thirty centimetres of tape and were challenged to build a house out of these materials that could survive a leaf blower. For the house we had specific dimensions that we had to follow. It could be as wide as we wanted but had to be around thirty centimetres tall. In this project we worked in groups of three or four. This project required a lot of teamwork and determination. When we were first given this assignment I thought it would be easy, I was wrong.

We had to define what the assignment was, which meant going over the criteria in class to get an understanding of what we were challenged to make. Then we had to discover. We had to research wind resistant house designs and figure out how to make our house strong enough. We took notes, planned out designs and really dug deep to find out how to make the house. Next we had to dream. This meant coming up with a design for our newspaper house while following the define criteria. We drew many designs until we came up with our final design that we were going to build. I found this the hardest part. Coming up with a design for a house made out of newspaper that could survive severe winds was not easy. My group had to keep brainstorming until we had a winner. Once we were done sketching our house we then had to put the idea into real life. This was the design section of the task. We then built the house using our sketch to make the real thing out of newspaper. After we were all done we tested out our house. Our teacher borrowed a leaf blower and put the houses against a wall. If your house could stay standing, then you won. Unfortunately my group’s house did not survive but the end result isn’t the big idea. The big idea is the process not the end result. It’s not about what you made but how you got there. STEAM, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics, is a class that challenges our brains to find ways to come up with creative and innovative ideas.

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