With an increasing number of international schools and preschools incorporating STEM and STEAM into their curriculums, you may be curious about these acronyms – what they mean and how they’re being put into action in the classroom (or outside of it!). Here’s a look at what students at a handful of top 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
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 a project by Grade 3 students to build workbenches for woodworking; in this project, 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.
“We learn how to use equipment safely and how to work with different kinds of materials and machines like laser cutters, 3D printers and coding websites to create chess and video games. In Grade 3, we had the chance to compete in the Lego robotics Junior Lego League. We used Lego WEdo kits and apps to programme Lego and create a moon base. Other important things we learnt were respect for our resources and each other, teamwork, cooperation and being responsible.” – Telsa, Grade 6
Marlborough College Malaysia
All students at Marlborough College Malaysia enjoy a STEAM curriculum. They are able to take part in different activities, including lectures, theatre trips, museum and gallery visits, debates, poetry readings, conferences and concerts. Students also have home projects; for example, the Year 4 students recently made volcanoes and viking long boats. In class, besides regular assignments, students get to use devices such as iPads and laptops and learn through educational apps. The school also offers a great host of facilities for students to benefit from, including dedicated well-equipped rooms for science, design and technology, and art.
“The thing that I love about being at Marlborough College is that I have the opportunity to learn so much in so many different ways. Recently, we celebrated Science Week and it was amazing. Every lesson from drama to English was themed around it – one minute we had to complete an obstacle course, and the next we were in a museum full of amazing items that had been loaned to us by parents. It was so much fun and I learnt so much.” – Year 8 student
Jalan Marlborough, 79200 Iskandar Puteri, Johor
White Lodge International Preschool & Childcare
One example of how White Lodge makes use of the STEAM approach in its curriculum is the the preschool’s March holiday programme, when one of the outdoor play activities was water exploration at the water wall. Children were able to explore and discover the concept of science, learning about the importance of water for plants to grow as well as how water evaporates into the air. They also discovered more about rainbows and how they can be seen due to the effect of sunlight. The children also got to explore recycled materials on the water wall, including recycled bottles and coloured funnels and tubes. While playing, the children were able to observe the effects of water on spinning wheels and patterns when spraying or splashing water on the floor. They also learnt about measurement for water capacity when scooping water using different tools such as watering cans and cups.
“I like the water wall because I can see how the water flows down the funnel and the water hose. I also enjoy splashing water using the watering can.” – Howard Li, Kindergarten
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