You may be familiar with STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths), but at Compass International School Doha, as a result of our ground-breaking collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), we focus on STEAM.
You may well ask what the A in STEAM is and why does MIT and Compass International School feel the need to insert the extra letter?
The A stands for Arts because we know that “a vivid imagination for new ideas are not generated by deduction, but by an artistically creative imagination” (Max Planck, founder of Quantum Physics)
From Leonardo de Vinci to Einstein, from Bill Gates to Steve Jobs, advances in technology, science and engineering have relied upon creativity and imagination. By including Art in our work on traditional STEM subjects, MIT and Compass International School Doha recognise that.
In January, every student at Compass International School will receive a “Compass Curiosity Cube” containing materials to build and create their own imaginative STEAM projects. This will be followed in January by our STEAM week, when 1600 young people from age 3 to 18 across our three campuses will attempt a series of challenges set for them by MIT around the theme of “Navigating Tomorrow”. Students will be looking at the issues surrounding autonomous vehicles (such as self-driving cars). Some will build their own robot vehicles whilst others will be considering the substantial ethical implications of having computers driving cars. They will be looking at the physics of aeroplane design and how planes can be made more fuel efficient. Some classes will be building their own wind-tunnels to test their designs. Students will also be considering the implications of using biofuels. We will also be visited during the week by several special guest experts from here in Qatar as well as experts from MIT.
As part of this collaboration, seven teachers from Compass International School Doha have travelled to MIT in Cambridge to have a week long intensive training from MIT professors and doctoral students. This has given us the capability to offer the best access to STEAM learning throughout our curriculum, not just during our STEAM week. The MIT motto is “Mens et manus” which means “mind and hand. We are engaging our students in the very essence of this by allowing them to use their minds to create with their hands. As a result of our collaboration, Compass International School Doha is at the forefront of practical hands-on problem solving activities in student education in Qatar.
Simon Porter is Director of Learning at Compass International School Doha and a regional lead for Nord Anglia Education’s ground-breaking collaboration with MIT. Find out more about this collaboration at #NAEMIT.