Full STEAM ahead: Learning by creating

“Education has very little to do with explanation, it has to do with engagement, with falling in love with the material.”
                                                                             — SEYMOUR PAPERT

At Kirby, we are committed to cultivating our student’s love of learning and the ability to think creatively.

STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics) is about nurturing students’ curiosity and helping them develop the ability to problem solve and come up with innovative solutions to the unexpected situations that will continually arise in their lives.

Students in Jenny Billings’ 6th grade STEAM classes build, manipulate, and create. Her  classroom looks like a makers-space. Her students use pools, the ocean and other outdoor spaces to learn about, test and refine their creations. ROVs (remotely operated underwater vehicle), miniature golf courses, and animatronic critters are but a few of the many hands-on projects her students produce. Soldering irons, circuit wires, miniature fans, aluminum foil, batteries, clothes pins, and playing cards are among the many objects strewn about the desktop, waiting for small hands to put them together in creative ways.

Jenny notes, “The interplay between creative vision and STEM provides rich learning opportunities and encourages students to grapple with phenomena, concepts, and tools while they design and build personally meaningful artifacts.”

Through the use of beginner friendly tools in a fun, creative, and collaborative environment, students can find an approachable entry point to STEM studies and complexify their thinking through playful, open-ended opportunities to understand the way that the arts and STEM subjects meaningfully support each other. This kind of active and self-directed learning sets students up for success in STEM, especially those who might not naturally gravitate toward these subjects.

STEAM is one way Kirby students learn to take intellectual risks in a safe and supportive environment. It connects to our belief that the development of creativity and adaptability are crucial to a growth mindset and enhanced through exploration of a wide variety of arts, electives, and experiences.