Student Engineers at Work: The Lieberman Family STEAM Center
Even as school this year is different than ever before, the work of the Lieberman Family STEAM Center continues to enrich the learning of our students in all grades. At Schechter Manhattan, we view STEAM (the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) as an interdisciplinary approach to engaging with real-world problems. We use it as a lens to teach students how to think deeply and creatively, notice connections between different subject areas, lead with empathy, and collaborate with others. These are skills and habits that we value deeply, and because of this, under the leadership of Allison Levine, our STEAM Coordinator, we have integrated STEAM into many aspects of a Schechter Manhattan education.
Recently, students in grade 5 engaged a STEAM challenge as part of their study of electricity. Through a variety of hands-on activities, they have discovered the different components that make up an electrical circuit, determined what materials are good conductors of electricity, and learned how to create schematic drawings of circuits. Last week, the students were tasked with the challenge of designing a switch or button that starts and stops the flow of electricity through a simple circuit. Students were given options of materials and certain design criteria, and then they built their designs. See the photos of them at work above.
This learning activity helped students to build important STEAM skills. They practiced design thinking: designing something using a set of constraints, considering the user experience while designing, and using an iterative process to troubleshoot and improve their design. In addition to helping them understand the science behind electrical currents, this unit is also intended to help students develop technology and engineering skills that they can incorporate into STEAM projects later this year, and in ever more complex STEAM work in the years ahead.
We are so grateful to the vision and leadership of Eileen and Jerry Leiberman that makes the Lieberman Family STEAM Center possible.