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Inquiry led learning with STEAM in NAS Jakarta's Makerspace

Alf Collett
Alf Collett (4 posts) Global Campus Champion Tampilkan Profil

We have recently upgraded and reorganised our Makerspace here at NAS Jakarta, and with it have come lots of new and exciting STEAM learning opportunities for our students. 

ECA 2

STEAM is an often misunderstood ‘subject’ In schools. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and maths. The popular image of STEAM (previously STEM) is that of building blocks, craft activities and robotics. Whilst these aspects are included in many STEAM activities, at its heart STEAM is about inquiry and problem-solving. The relatively recent inclusion of art acknowledges that humanity and creativity are essential to the design process.  

At NAS Jakarta, STEAM challenges are used to involve children in problem solving inquiries that can utilise their skills in other subjects and their collaboration skills. For example, the recent topic in Pari Manta class was ‘Coded Communication’. They followed circuit diagrams (an example of a code) to make morse code machines through this inquiry. They also made braille ‘typewriters’ using tools and resources available in the Makerspace to communicate with children at a local school for the blind. 

Over the last two weeks, I have taken classes from Year 1 to Year 6/7 into the Makerspace to participate in STEAM challenges. Year 1 used their observation skills and the lenses in the Makerspace to look at a range of natural items up close. Year 2 created beautiful T-shirt designs using pendulums (learning about gravity and momentum). Year 3 created robot hands that could clasp things using straws for the fingers and string for the tendons. Year 4 have been working on a Global Campus activity where they ‘hacked’ household items to create a vehicle for a superhero. They have had to think about what their superhero might need and learn the skills required to use the tools in the Makerspace safely. Year 5 and 6/7 have worked together to plan and create a home for the future. During their investigation, when planning, creating and evaluating, they have had to ensure that their future home is sustainable in that it makes more oxygen than the carbon dioxide it produces.  

  • Year 1 STEAM 2021 (1)
  • Year 2 STEAM 2021 (1)
  • Year 3 STEAM 2021 (1)
  • Year 5/6 STEAM 2021 (5)

All classes were introduced to the ‘Design Cycle’ through these lessons – a key element in STEAM inquiries. The ‘Design Cycle’ ensures that all students are building their skills, understanding and the creation itself through a hands-on, reflective process. They also all had great fun! 

Design Cycle

At NAS Jakarta, we have a STEAM ECA on Thursday afternoons. This term it was open to Years 5, 6 and 7. In collaboration with MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), we investigated and created weather predictors. We created rain gauges and programmed micro:bits (small codable computers) to send signals when they detected strong winds. Next term, Years 3 and 4 are invited to take part in the STEAM ECA where we will continue to investigate extreme weather in a new challenge set by MIT. The ECA takes place each Thursday from 15:00 – 16:00  

Please email me if you would like your child to be involved. 

Mr Alf Collett Alf.Collett@nasjakarta.sch.id  

ECA 2021 (1)
  • ECA 2021 (2)
  • ECA 2021 VID (1)
  • ECA 2021 (3)
  • TI 1
  • TI 2
  • TI 3

Please email me if you would like your child to be involved. 

Mr Alf Collett Alf.Collett@nasjakarta.sch.id