On Thursday, January 31, we welcomed students and parents to our Parent Information Center for an interactive deep dive into our approach to STEM education. Founding Faculty members Jacklyn White, Svetlana Grinshpan, and Page Stites led the assembled crowd in a “provocation”—creating a “light painting” experience for our guests and then using that experience to tap into the curiosity of the group and drive inquiry into the underlying scientific phenomena (see photo). Thanks to the highly engaged students and parents in the audience, we were able to come up with a number of fascinating questions about the nature and physical properties of light, how digital cameras work, and how to describe motion through space and time. As Lower School STEM teacher Jacklyn White said, “We want to cultivate each and every student’s innate curiosity about the world, so we design our learning experiences around open-ended questions and experiences with scientific phenomena.”
After the light painting activity, Jacklyn gave an overview of the STEM program in our Early Learning Center and Lower School. Svetlana Grinshpan and Page Stites then shared our integrated, project-based approach to STEM in the Middle and Upper Schools with examples of projects currently under development: one around the science of learning and the mind for sixth graders and another involving a “microgravity drop tower” for Upper School. In both examples, the audience got a sense of the ways in which our project-based approach makes learning more meaningful, engages students as partners in the learning process, and allows for depth of STEM content as well as rich connections to other disciplines.