The concept of STEAM learning has been around for a while, but it’s becoming more and more prevalent in education today–with good reason. The STEAM (an acronym for its subjects in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) framework emphasizes a well-rounded education focusing on skills that can be used in the real world.
The benefits of STEAM learning are abundant. Not only do students learn skills that can be put to actual use outside of school, but they do so in a way that promotes engagement and enjoyment. STEAM classes often serve as the seed that blooms into a lifelong love of learning. If you break down the elements of STEAM learning, you’ll find that it really encompasses just about every subject that’s already part of any standard curriculum–what separates STEAM learning from everyday education is the way it’s presented and how all of its elements are brought together to create a holistic learning experience.
STEAM learning was born from STEM learning, which includes all of the same subjects–minus the arts. While the “A” is only one letter, it’s a world of difference. The “Arts” in STEAM learning encompasses not just visual arts, but also fine arts, language arts, physical arts, musical arts, and social studies, plus any subjects that fall within those categories. The intent of STEAM learning is that this combination of the individual STEAM elements, when taught in an integrated way, will help students use logic, think creatively, learn how to effectively solve problems, and benefit from interactive, collaborative learning. Again…all skills that will apply to their lives outside of the classroom and in the workforce.
“STEAM education is very important to students,” says Jessica Curfman, Bridgeway Academy’s director of online learning. “It helps them to develop their own unique problem-solving skills that they can apply in an ever-changing world.”
Kimberly Bennett, Bridgeway’s Live Online Classes lead teacher adds, “STEAM education is important for students in preparation for tomorrow’s jobs.” While no one is quite sure what the technology of the future looks like just yet, Kimberly states that “we do know how to prepare students for computational thinking, the engineering process, and problem-solving skills” that they’ll need in their future endeavors.
With student engagement already in a precarious state thanks to COVID-19, STEAM learning also serves as a refreshing approach to school that can help rejuvenate the passion for learning in some children and even create a newfound love for education that may have been entirely absent from certain students. Many kids today simply don’t want to sit at a desk and be talked at and expected to memorize facts for the sole purpose of passing a standardized test. They want to be engaged, they want to use their hands and their minds and their voices. They crave the knowledge that will help them beyond the classroom walls. And that’s another of STEAM’s foremost objectives–to present all of these critical subjects and topics in a way that kids understand and appreciate.
“Our trimester STEAM classes are designed to prepare the students of today for the jobs of tomorrow by embedding learning into fun,” says Kimberly. “For example, we use Minecraft to teach coding concepts, ensuring maximum engagement in a format kids already love.”
It’s in that spirit of learning that Bridgeway Academy is excited to be offering a live, virtual STEAM Summer Camp! Our two-week camp will be held in two separate sessions:
- The first session will run from June 14 through June 25.
- The second session will run from July 12 through July 23.
- Each camp will consist of one class per day, five days each week.
- Camps are separated into two age groups–Early Learners (grades 1-3) and Experienced Learners (grades 4-6).
Bridgeway’s STEAM Summer Camp stays true to the intentions of STEAM learning. “Our STEAM camp strives to bring learning and creativity in an engaging atmosphere,” says Jessica. “We find that when students are maximizing their creative energy, they are maximizing their learning as well.”
Our STEAM Summer Camp offers students an introduction to each of Bridgeway’s elective courses in the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. According to Jessica, the hope is that students, through this hands-on camp, “students will foster a passion in one of these courses that we can build upon in full trimester offerings.”
Additionally, this collaborative camp keeps students sharp throughout the summer, helping to mitigate summer (and COVID) learning loss and getting students off to a great start for the new school year in the fall.