Three years ago, my principal asked our staff to think of something BIG that our PTO can fund. Since I already acquired flexible seating and 1:1 iPads for 5th grade through the PTO, I needed to find something else that I was passionate about and that I knew the PTO could help me bring to life. Over the next two years I slowly integrated using STEAM materials (purchased by the PTO) into my classroom and during an after school club for all 1st – 5th grade students at our school. Finally this year, our school opened the first STEAM Lab in the District. This video is a snapshot of what it looks like.
The popularity of the lab is growing and now the District is working on a plan to guide in the opening of STEAM Labs in all of the other 6 elementary schools. We host tours for not only our fellow district members, but other districts have come for visits to see how they can implement a STEAM Lab in their buildings as well.
The true success of this story is not the fact that this is the first in our district or that others want to follow suit. The real success is seeing the growth of my students from the first day they stepped foot into the lab to now. It is amazing how quickly the students are changing right before my eyes. I can’t even imagine how much influence this lab will have on the students who are in kindergarten and will have the opportunity to participate in the lab until they “graduate” from 5th grade. Will they be better prepared for what future jobs hold for them? Will they be better problem solvers and critical thinkers? Will they be more flexible and self directed? Will they be more willing to take risks and fail? Will more girls become interested in a STEM career path?
One can only guess what the the future holds. Our job as educators is to prepare students for that unknown. We can never lose sight that the reason we do what we do, is for the students. We need to keep dreaming BIG and find ways to make those dreams happen. If we don’t do it, who will?
Now that …is Positively Techie!