With an increasing number of international schools and preschools incorporating STEM and STEAM (and even STREAM) into their curriculums, you may be curious as to what exactly these acronyms mean, and how they’re being put into action in the classroom (or outside of it!). Here’s a sneak peek at what students at a handful of international schools and preschools in Singapore get up to each day with these programmes.
Know your acronyms!
- STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
- STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics
- STREAM stands for Science, Technology, Reading and writing, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics
Canadian International School
STEAM at the Canadian International School is not just simply about using iPads, interactive whiteboards and teaching programming. It’s an engaging, hands-on, student-led and inquiry-based framework customised for all types of students and integrated across different disciplines. Recent STEAM experiences include projects by Grade 3 students to build workbenches for woodworking where knowledge was drawn from various disciplines such as science, mathematics and technology. Meanwhile, Grade 6 students constructed shoe benches, Grade 7 students made aprons using upcycled materials and Grade 9 students built musical instruments out of discarded materials. Each year, the schools also organises a STEAM Fair with hands-on activities for the whole and wider CIS family.
“The STEAM programme engages us in a variety of skills that we need for the real world. We’ve learnt scientific methods, collaboration and time management, and how to use things like power tools responsibly. My most memorable STEAM project was from Grade 6 where we did a toast-dropping experiment, involving calculations on probability and physics.” – Howard Shi
Tanglin Trust School
Tanglin Trust School is fortunate to be in the heart of the vibrant science, technology and media hub of one-north. The school has been able to enhance its STEM curriculum through building opportunities for students to work with their neighbours. The Senior School’s STEM Club regularly hosts guest speakers, ranging from Singapore-based research leaders to Tanglin alumni who share details about their professions. Students also witness science in the real world; for example, they visit laboratories looking into developing a dengue vaccine and bioinformatics laboratories that use computational methods in the drug discovery process. The school has in-house workshops covering topics such as questioning the perception of scientists in today’s fake news era. Students also enjoy presenting their own research at the annual one-north Science Festival.
“I enjoy attending STEM Club as it gives opportunities to expand my scientific knowledge outside the school syllabus. A memorable moment was our visit to the Boeing testing centre where we saw what goes into designing aircrafts. We also had a go at landing a plane in a flight simulator!” – Jayesh
Nexus International School (Singapore)
From Math lessons to drama productions, STEAM has a pivotal role in learning at Nexus International School (Singapore). In their performance of Alice, when she drank the potion to shrink, they created a video and turned Alice into a tiny hologram. Floor robots bring Math lessons to life for little learners by moving according to simple equations they key in. Spanish language learners practice their skills by pretending to be journalists and recording videos against the green screen in the Makerspace. Science and Biology students created 3D heart models that they can flow liquid through to gain a deeper understanding of blood flow through arteries and veins. Art students are able to take 2D art and bring them into the 3D realm using 3D pens and Tinkercad. After-school activity options include travelling the world through the Google Expeditions CCA, building with Lego and kinetic blocks and even building vertical garden structures using laser cutters.
“STEAM is embedded where it can enhance learning at Nexus. As an Apple Distinguished School, we believe that STEAM must be seamlessly interwoven into the curriculum, supporting learner-centric and inquiry models.” – Lee Wilson, Director of Learning Technologies
Kinderland offers a STREAM Through Nature programme, where children are engaged in exploration and active learning in Science, Technology, Reading and Writing, Engineering, Arts and Math. It enables young learners to develop both analytically and creatively in a three-step manner: explore, discover and apply. Lessons are created based on children’s interests; besides facilitating projects, teachers also encourage children on their learning journey. Typical activities include creating marble maze boards where children explore the concepts of gravity and its effects on various objects. Children also learn about the properties of air by making pinwheels. In addition, Kinderland has a Sound Garden where preschoolers play with musical instruments made from kitchen items such as pots and pans and explore the wonders of sound production.
“Through these activities, children develop traits like teamwork and perseverance. Working in teams, they are challenged to query, explore and solve problems together. As STREAM integrates knowledge across disciplines, it encourages children to think in a more connected and holistic way. This promotes intellectual learning.” – Ms Sharini Binte Shafie, Senior Teacher, Nursery, Kinderland Preschool @ Yio Chu Kang
Kinderland has 22 locations islandwide