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Inspiring interdisciplinary thinking through STEAM at NAIS Manila

Chris Pooley
Chris Pooley (20 posts) Principal View Profile

One of the benefits of being a student at Nord Anglia International School Manila is our collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


This year we have embedded STEAM into our Primary curriculum.

Our new approach to learning STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics--is an interdisciplinary method aimed at helping students develop vital transferrable skills and learning across subjects, through experimentation, trial and error and creativity.

The cross-functional approach to STEAM exemplifies how we can prepare students for the real world. It works on the premise that the world is complex and messy; that there is no such thing as a problem that can be solved through knowledge of chemistry or physics alone. Challenges are multifaceted and the thinking needed to find a solution must be as dynamic as the world around us.

Last 3rd November, children from our school travelled to the South East Asia STEAM Festival, held at Regents International School, in Thailand. The students designed, presented and reflected on their chosen projects and the feedback we received was excellent (as we would expect).

Mr. McGuinness, our Head of Science, details some of the fantastic events, activities and cultural experiences at the NAE-MIT Southeast Asia STEAM Festival in Thailand.

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When we arrived, we were thrown into a challenge instantly!

NAIS Manila Team had to complete an escape room using critical thinking skills and actually won in their challenge. 

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On the first morning, students attended a talk by one of the Ford car designers, who explained the importance of STEAM in the real world and how she uses STEAM in her career.

After this the students presented their pre-festival task,-to build a fully functioning prototype, which will then be presented in the school expo.

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All of our students demonstrated their own unique skills; Seth became the expert in 3D design and uploading it into virtual reality; Bianca and Melle made an eye for a nature bot that they are building; Grace worked on building the body of a robot that her team hopes will be able to collect data on climate change in the Antarctic; Ichiro worked on designing and building fins for a robotic fish; while Padi concentrated on where and how a camera should be fitted into a boat that they hope would be able to discover the secrets of the Bermuda Triangle.

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To finish the day, the students participated in Loi Krathong, a Thai festival similar to the Indian Diwali.

They built flower decorations, and had Thai feast for dinner.

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The following day the students carried on with their projects, while getting ready to present their work in the STEAM expo that was planned for the afternoon.

Seth continued working on his VR model; Melle and Bianca spent the morning building their camouflaged nature bot in the Design and Technology suite; Grace set up the expo stall for her Atlantic Exploration Crab robot; Ichiro became the team leader of his group that built the robotic fish; and Padi build the body of his prototype ship Titanic 2.0 ready for a potential voyage to the Bermuda Triangle.

The students presented their work to the teachers and also Year 6 of Regents School. I am very proud to say that our school received outstanding feedback about the effort, behavior, resilience and attitude to learning from all of the facilitators.


Mr. McGuinness

Head of Science

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At NAIS Manila, we aim to inspire our students through excellence by challenging them to reach for their dreams and to be active participants in the world around them.

We encourage ambition and curiosity and prioritise the development of real-world skills so that they will go into the world, ready to learn and discover, keen to be challenged, able to thrive.  

By helping our students to develop crucial transferrable skills that build on and enhance traditional systems of learning through our performing arts and STEAM programmes, we are preparing them for future success in our ever-changing world.

Mr. Pooley

Head of Primary