Sunday, November 8th, was National STEM/STEAM Day - Happy (belated) National STEM/STEAM Day! November 8th is an unofficial holiday that celebrates Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics education throughout the United States. Here at St. Viator Elementary School, we celebrate the importance of STEAM topics, in our curriculum and in our larger society. According to the website National Today, “Studies in the early 2000s revealed that [United States] students were not achieving in the STEM disciplines at the same rate as students in other countries.” Reports written at that time stressed that the U.S. was not preparing its workforce for a successful future in the world economy. A bipartisan congressional STEM Education Caucus noted: “Our knowledge-based economy is driven by constant innovation. The foundation of innovation lies in a dynamic, motivated and well-educated workforce equipped with STEM skills.” Following these studies, educators prioritized the STEM disciplines, later adding Art (the "A") to recognized the importance of Fine Arts in a balanced educational experience and to increase students' access to STEM topics.
St. Viator Elementary School utilizes a variety of targeted solutions to address the STEAM deficit in the U.S. education system. We recently highlighted our dedicated STEM teacher, Mrs. Goslin, and her work with our 1st through 5th grade students.
Her weekly direction provides students with classroom discussion and hands-on experiments that bring STEM topics into their lives - often right to their desktops!
In 2015, the St. Viator Technology Committee committed to promoting STEAM disciplines through additions to the school curriculum and by creating a “STEAM Night” evening event. Working in cooperation with St. Patrick High School, a local Catholic High School, they offer students in grades Kindergarten through 8th an evening filled with STEAM topics.
Students participate in breakout sessions to complete hands-on activities and experiments, moving STEAM topics from theory to reality.
St. Viator Elementary School committed to the “A” for Art in September of 1997, when a group of parents created a Fine Arts education program they called “Art Zone”. This monthly experience focuses on hands-on projects where students learn about a variety of artists and utilize a variety of media.
The Art Zone Committee chooses the monthly artists and prepares material describing the artist and their work. All St. Viator students, from Pre-school through Eighth grade, complete a project inspired by the month’s topic. Art Zone projects expose the children to a variety of artistic styles, tools, and techniques they may not experience outside of school.
An All-School Art Show is held in the Spring of each school year, highlighting three pieces of Art Zone work from each student. Students' works line the school halls, transforming St. Viator Elementary School into an amazing art gallery, complete with a reception for attendees to enjoy.
STEM/STEAM disciplines are an important part of the American Education System. At St. Viator Elementary School, we are working to prepare our students for the critical and analytical thinking they will need to tackle these subjects throughout their educational career. Again citing National Today, “Growth in America’s STEM jobs in the first decade of the 21st century tripled the rate of growth in non-STEM jobs.” So we also look to the future, striving to prepare students for a workplace that hasn’t even been fully defined yet. We continue to promote technological literacy while also balancing students with an involvement in the Fine Arts. We work hard to demonstrate that STEM/STEAM disciplines are an important part of the St. Viator Education System.
How did you celebrate STEM/STEAM Day? Which discipline is your favorite? Do you have more questions about the ways that St. Viator Elementary School promotes STEM/STEAM topics? Please feel free to visit our school website at: https://www.stviatorchicago.org/. Click on the “CONTACT” tab to send your questions directly to our Front Office.