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New STEAM Curriculum gets students to solve environmental problems

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The British School of Beijing (BSB) Shunyi has announced the details of its new science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) curriculum, developed in collaboration with one of the world’s most influential universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The new approach to STEAM will see students benefit from an educational approach honed in one of the world’s leading higher education institutions. Students will adopt a multidisciplinary approach to learning and problem-solving with a focus on developing robust intellectual curiosity for real-world application. It is this sense of curiosity and exploration that underpins much of MIT’s approach to learning. BSB students will be encouraged to question their world, identify problems and come up with solutions for their community all with the guidance of MIT staff.

Curiosity Challenge - BSB students will be challenged in three phases to solve a real-life problem facing their local community.

  • First, students will have to describe what makes them curious in order to stimulate inquisitive thinking.
  • In the second phase, MIT will challenge students to identify and describe an environmental problem in their city and the impact on the overall health of the city including air, food, water, energy, transportation and waste. They will then use the skills they learned through the guidance of MIT experts and STEAM teachers to question and delve deeper through research, analysis and the collection of data.
  • The final stage will focus on addressing the problem and creating a solution which students will present at MIT.

Mr. Andy Puttock, Principal of The British School of Beijing, Shunyi said, “This is an almost unbelievable opportunity for our students. It is now well accepted that STEAM initiatives are the future for our young people, as they bring a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of these most important of subjects. All schools are moving in this direction, but the chance to develop our curriculum approach in a formal collaboration with an acknowledged world leader such as MIT is something very special indeed for us.”

The curriculum develops transferable skills students will need in order to meet the challenges and uncertainty of the future workplace. Traditional schooling with siloed academic subjects does not adequately prepare students for the fast pace of technological change in the modern world. BSB believes that a curriculum based around STEAM will encourage interdisciplinary learning, and will help students develop transferrable skills such as creativity and advance problem-solving for jobs of the 21st century.

Learn from the best

The collaboration also entails professional development at MIT for STEAM discipline teachers at BSB. Teachers will have an opportunity to attend annual workshops at MIT which will expose them to the latest thinking, research and tools in STEAM. BSB teachers will also learn new ways to support student creativity, invention, reflection, risk taking and perseverance through the termly STEAM challenges. BSB eachers have already completed their professional development this summer at MIT with workshops about combatting climate change, food production technologies, city planning and gaming among other topics. Click here to read more about BSB Teachers' trip to MIT in July 2016.

Finally, the collaboration between The British School of Beijing (BSB) Shunyi and MIT will provide teachers and students with the annual opportunity to visit the respected university. While at MIT, they will participate in a range of STEAM related activities, such as robotics, coding, and bioengineering among other things. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with, and learn from, some of the world’s most renowned academics in the subjects of STEAM. This will ensure that BSB students are exposed to the thinking and philosophy underpinning an institution at the vanguard of STEAM education. Click here to read about BSB students' trip to MIT in April 2016.

 

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