International Day celebrates the wide cultural diversity of our BIS community and our students’ role as global citizens. The day broadens students’ horizons and affords opportunities for them to learn more about their contemporaries’ cultures, food and languages, while forming a greater understanding of their own place in the wider community. Therefore it was a great opportunity to link another important aspect of our school this year: STEAM.
STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student enquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. These are the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st Century.
Throughout October, all Key Stage 3 students were set the challenge of designing and making a game that they could run during our Secondary International Day. Students set about the task by utilising their BIS Learning Skills of research to identify how they could incorporate both the themes of STEAM and International Cultural Identity into their games. The critical thinking and resourcefulness of our students then shone through as they were told that all the games had to be made from recycled materials that they had to source themselves. Since then it has been a whirlwind of activity, with games being made in almost every available space on the 3rd floor with a common sight of seeing games being carried around the school corridors. A huge thank you must also go to parents and the fantastic support students have received from home as it was great to hear so many stories during the Year7 PTSC of when parents are hosting their children’s friends to make the games for this special occasion.
However, for me the most exciting part of the activity was being able to watch students learning through modelling, the critical thought of iterative design where the process of reflective evaluation and then refinement of models improves the final outcome. This process was often linked to the application of their knowledge within the STEAM fields. This ranged from their Physics knowledge regarding gravity, friction, forces, levers to the Mathematics of measuring and marking out the materials.
Technology and Engineering were applied to manufacture the games, especially with the many moving parts that were often used to further enhance the game play. Arts were used to make the games look appealing and engaging to play especially when combined with the researching of Culture and National Identity which linked well with History. Sustainability and Environmental concerns are linked with Geography and of course the games often require great hand eye coordination that involves PE! The list goes on….what a great way to end the first half term with so many areas of the STEAM curriculum being applied!
James Chandler, STEAM Coordinator and Teacher of Design and Technology