Practical STEAM Education
At Mercy High School, the STEAM curriculum emphasizes innovative thinking, experimentation, and the application of interdisciplinary knowledge to enhance problem solving skills. In this semester’s Fundamentals of STEAM, course students are solving real problems for people using 3-D technology. The problem—where to store a hair crimper when not in use so it doesn’t burn a hole in the counter or burn young children’s hands.
According to Paul Tschudin, Information Technology Director and teacher with this project, the teacher acts as facilitator and the students are the thinkers and doers. To increase class engagement, the problem focuses on something the girls can relate to in their own life. Over several weeks, the students need to define the problem, do research including conducting interviews and asking relevant questions, collect data, brainstorm potential solutions with their team, develop a prototype and refine that prototype based on feedback. At the end of the project, teams give a five-minute presentation highlighting the steps taken to create the 3-D design.
“I really enjoyed the entire process. You work on everything from interviewing, to brainstorming, to designing, to calculations, to computer fabrication. The design process was fascinating because each team developed a different, unique design,’ said sophomore, Lilee Surdell.
STEAM education is crucial to educate and prepare the next generation as a global workforce. Research shows the job opportunities in these fields continues to grow and is critical to our country’s economy.