Did you know that the Canadian International School (CIS) was the first school in Singapore to offer STEAM learning? That was back in 2014, when it recognised the important life skills that such an approach can provide for students, no matter where their passions might lie. Hands-on learning is high on the agenda at their STEAM lab.
At CIS, STEAM is a school wide interdisciplinary approach that integrates science, technology, environmental studies, arts and mathematics. According to the school, it teaches students to draw conceptual understanding from each discipline and take it a step further by applying those concepts in a real-world context.
Learning essential skills
STEAM isn’t just about using technology or learning science and robotics – it’s an engaging, hands-on learning and inquiry-based framework that can be tailored for all ages and types of students, and integrated across different disciplines.
The CIS team says that the approach helps students develop important essential skills for whatever workforce they may enter. As they work on projects, they collaborate with classmates, conduct research, problem solve, test possible solutions and think creatively and critically.
They learn to understand that the challenges they face can’t be solved through one answer alone; instead, they need to think creatively and approach problems from multiple perspectives.
Engaging and hands-on learning
STEAM also lets students engage with hands-on learning. Pre-kindergarten students at CIS recently explored how to convert a toilet roll into a workable torch, while Grade 1 students integrated science, maths and art as they learnt about forces, motion and design when building their own moveable toy.
Another project saw students working in pairs to generate current from batteries and to convert it to kinetic energy for a “drawbot”, so that the bots move by themselves. This was a fun way to build understanding of energy transfer and thermodynamics. Meanwhile, Grade 6 students used 3D computer software to create scale models to study the maths and science behind natural phenomena on earth.
Students also get to work in state-of-the-art modular and flexible maker spaces that allow teachers to tailor the room to the project and students’ needs. The cupboards deliberately have no doors – available resources are displayed clearly to spark curiosity.
A word from a student
“I’ve been working in the STEAM lab to help me with my personal projects. I also successfully organised a workshop with Mr Deir (CIS STEAM Coordinator at Lakeside). Over the years, my projects have become more complicated! This year, I built a model elevator that could listen to voice instructions, using coding with Python and Arduino. Through it all, Mr Deir and the lab were there to help me.” – Noah, Grade 6
Find out more at the open house
Want to see the CIS STEAM programme in action and meet the school’s experts? Then join an open house to learn more about the CIS ethos, academic programme and school life. Chat to their academic team and teachers while you tour the school and peek into classrooms.
This article first appeared in the March 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!