A plan to inspire students of the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (HSCDSB) to look at career options in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics is taking shape at an accelerated pace.
The board believes exposing students to STEAM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) will expand their horizons. With this goal in mind, the board has created a STEAM Lab, situated at the Holy Angels Learning Centre, to host various grade levels of students in programs designed as exciting, challenging and authentic learning activities.
“We believe that engaging our students at an early age to STEAM learning will prompt them to look further into the numerous careers associated with science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Our STEAM Lab provides ideal spaces to promote their exploration of the future that awaits them,” said HSCDSB Director of Education, Danny Viotto.
Five members of the board’s Catholic Curriculum team, Mathematics Learning Lead, Lisa Tomas, STEAM Lead Lorenzo DiCerbo, Experiential Learning Lead Paula Trainor, Indigenous Learning Lead Akeshia Trudeau, and Numeracy Facilitator Carmine DiCerbo have collaborated to bring this unique learning environment from concept to reality.
What the STEAM Lab offers aligns with the four pillars of the board’s multi-year strategic plan.
Success and Well-being of our Students: The STEAM Lab will provide exceptional, authentic and real world learning tasks of the highest standard while being attentive to local history and cultures.
Engagement with our Employees and Partners: Educators will be provided resources, experiences and professional learning opportunities to support their learning in the new Science curriculum by Board and local industry experts.
Nurturing of our Catholic Faith: Provide students with the opportunity to develop, celebrate and share their God given gifts and talents as related to STEAM.
Equitable Stewardship of our Resources: The Lab will exemplify responsible and equitable use of resources while promoting and modeling stewardship of the Earth.
The STEAM Lab and teacher-facilitators provide our students with enhanced learning opportunities to meet the new expectations of the Science and Technology curriculum. Key changes to the revised curriculum includes a new strand of study, STEM Skills and Connections. A cross-curricular approach to STEM provides students with the opportunity to see the connections between science and technology and other subject areas.
The STEAM Lab will help realize the expectations in STEM investigation and communications skills, coding and emerging technologies, and practical applications of science and technology.
“As we developed our plan for the STEAM Lab, we made it a priority to provide students with exciting, hands-on and real-world learning activities in various emerging technologies such as coding and robotics. In our planning, we integrated STEAM activities in a cross-curricular approach with some of the more traditional Science related topics; students in grade 8 have the opportunity to learn about the sacredness of water from an Indigenous perspective, create hand-held water filters and then code and build an automated watering system. We are hopeful that the Lab will inspire students to consider pathways related to STEAM.” said STEAM Lead Teacher, Lorenzo DiCerbo
Dedicated learning spaces at the STEAM Lab will engage students in different ways.
The main lab will host activities related to coding and robotics. The large space will allow students to work in teams to create and test their creations.
The Green Room is a classroom dedicated to activities related to the environment and our role in being stewards of the environment. A component will include Catholic social teaching for the care of God’s creation.
The Orange Room is a classroom dedicated to teach students about Indigenous culture and art by providing relevant STEAM programming. The foundation of the classroom is built on the 7 Grandfather Teachings to promote Truth and Reconciliation by sharing Indigenous knowledge, history, stories and voices.
An outdoor learning space will provide opportunities for skills building and team challenges.
Future plans for outdoor learning, include creating outdoor gardens in collaboration with Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig to grow Indigenous medicinal plants and vegetable gardens to assist community organizations focusing on food poverty issues.
“We wanted to ensure a diversified learning experience at the STEAM Lab. These four learning spaces each provide a unique opportunity to engage our students in learning while maintaining an atmosphere of excitement and fun,” said Mathematics Lead Teacher, Lisa Tomas.
As the STEAM Lab evolves, the goal is to develop partnerships throughout the community and to engage with local business, industry, government organizations and post-secondary institutions to enhance what the STEAM Lab can offer.
Learn more about the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board online here.