STEAM Education at Ernest Hemingway STEAM School
STEAM is a philosophy of teaching and learning
Science is a way of finding evidence to support answers to questions
Technology is any tool used to solve a problem
Engineering is a means of designing and testing solutions to problems
Art is the application of human creativity and imagination
Math is the computational language of measurement, pattern, formation and relationships
Over the past year, Hemingway Elementary School has transformed itself into Ernest Hemingway STEAM School with an integrated, inquiry-based curriculum and with a growing middle school. Much has been accomplished to bring STEAM into curriculum and instructional practices. Sixth grade was added for 2017-18 to allow the growth of a second public middle school option for our valley’s children. We are adding 7th grade for the 2018-19 school year.
STEAM is an integrated approach to learning in which science, technology, engineering, art and math are infused into all lessons across the curriculum. Throughout this school year, the teachers at Hemingway develop new and exciting projects for the students. A few examples from a variety of grade levels are included below:
Kindergarten- During the month of October, Kindergarteners designed a plan to make a model of a mechanism that could move a pumpkin. They shared and modified their design based on feedback from their peers. The students created and tested a model of a mechanism to move a pumpkin in small groups, they evaluated whether or not their model was successful and found possible next steps to improve their design. They then had the opportunity to improve their design and retest their mechanism.
First Grade- The first grade learned about how animals survive the winter in the Wood River Valley. Animal experts visited the school bringing skulls, pelts, and games. During the unit the kids had the option of engineering animals or habitats. Mrs. Danica, the art teacher, worked with the first grade to make paper animal tracks which were placed around the school. The students measured fur to determine the effects of longer fur, compared migration distances, and compared the duration of various animals’ hibernation patterns.
Second Grade- The second grade did a project about the Iditarod. They built sleds with the 3-D printers in Engineering Design class with Mr. Slonim. They used hexbugs in the computer lab to “race the course” and they integrated mapping skills and math as they explored the course.
Third Grade- A fairy tale unit culminated in building houses for the three little pigs that were meant to withstand not only wind but earthquakes and heavy snow loads.
Fourth Grade- In a unit centering around internal and external structures and how they function to support survival, fourth grade students delved into a variety of language arts standards. They read informative texts, worked on summarizing, and used text evidence to support a claim. They also built models that demonstrated how the skeletal muscles work.
Fifth Grade- The fifth graders explored the geography of the United States through planning a two-week long road trip. They included in their trip a number of capital cities, a Native American Reservation, a visit to see a natural resource, and an outdoor event in which they had to determine where in the stadium they would sit to be in the shade among other things. They determined how much gas they would need for the entire two-week trip and how much that gas would cost. They shared their plans with their classmates using Google Tour Builder.
Sixth Grade- In a unit about early civilizations, the sixth graders explored the question “How does where we live influence how we live?” We had hoped that the unit would culminate with the students building a real igloo in which Mr. Parsons, Mr. Quaderer and their dogs would spend the night. Alas, the weather did not cooperate and the igloo melted before it was finished. (next year)
The focus on STEAM has led us to heightened engagement because students can see the relevance of material to their daily lives. Teachers are becoming more and more comfortable each day with this new approach to teaching and are excited about the projects that are taking shape in their classrooms. Students are excited to come to school and often have planned for or worked on projects at home even when it is not asked of them.
Outdoor education is a gem in our curriculum as it has inspired our connection with the local community and environment. We incorporate the outdoors as much as possible. We are within walking distance to the Big Wood River, The Environmental Resource Center, and the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. The Sawtooth Botanical Gardens is a bike ride away and the SNRA is a short bus ride away making it very easy for us to access these wonderful ‘STEAM’ resources as well. All 6th and 7th graders will be going on a 4-night trip to the McCall Outdoor Science School from April 15-19 this year. 5th graders hike up to Baker Lake, 4th graders participate in Wagon’s Ho, 3rd graders go to Craters of the Moon, 2nd graders explore Ketchum and frequently visit the Community Library. Kindergarten and 1st graders do a number of ‘Wonder Wander’ nature walks observing the outdoors.
All students in 1st-7th grade participate in our Winter program by either skiing, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing or ice skating at the Sun Valley ice rink. All students keep track of their STEAM learning in a STEAM journal.
Please feel free to call us to schedule a visit to Ernest Hemingway STEAM School at 208-578-5050.