For the last two years, a team from Blessed Trinity School has been engaged in the STEM Trustey Fellowship Program with the University of Notre Dame. Our team, comprised of Mr. Cambert, Mrs. Dietz, and Mrs. Kenna, was selected as one of the nine teams accepted into the Fellowship's fifth cohort, chosen from over 40 teams of applicants in the nation. This program has increased our school's access to STEM-related resources across a network spanning 18 states. We have been able to network with these other STEM Teaching Fellows in a variety of ways., including sharing data to provide our class assignments authentic contexts., using professional development and family night resources shared with us by teams from other cohorts, and working on collaborative, multi-school projects.
As part of this experience, our team has developed a blueprint for our school to promote inquiry and creativity at all levels. Our STREAM initiative is in line with our goals to advance the creation of 21st century learners who will be innovative leaders in our global community. We've already experienced success implementing regular STREAM activities across all grade levels which integrate these hands-on, minds on Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Math concepts and strategies throughout our everyday curriculum.
One exciting experience last year was when we hosted a family night: Hallow-STREAM. We invited families from our school and parish community to learn more about STREAM integration and work together on a STREAM project. It was amazing to see families working together through the Engineering Design Process. Kids and their parents were engaged in collaborative discussion and meaningful work. The excitement really was palpable!
Already we have witnessed first hand the students’ excitement with all our STREAM initiatives. Pre-K and Kindergarten students excitedly sing an Engineering Is Elementary song to remember the steps of the Engineering Design Process. Elementary students put those steps into action to solve problems. Middle school students interact with guest speakers who help them connect what they learn to real-world problems and solutions.
Students at all grade levels experience integrated STREAM lessons, which teach Catholic Social Teaching in conjunction with other science, technology, religion, engineering, art, or math skills. For example, Pre-K students made noisemakers (maracas) for their first STREAM day last year and played them during the entrance song of a school mass, leading the school in praise. Kindergarten-2nd grade students designed umbrellas and ponchos to keep the homeless dry during the rainy season. 3rd-5th grade tested and designed their own simple machines to help workers lift heavy weights more efficiently. Middle school students explored zoning and city planning to design an ideal community system. These are just a few examples of how our students have been able to integrate STREAM disciplines to improve their surroundings.
A STREAM integrated approach to learning opens doors once thought completely shut and affords everyone the opportunity to engage in our world in a very involved way. In an often fraught environment that is void of positive change makers, STREAM is a powerful force for good.