STEAM at St. Viator
What is STEAM?
STEM/STEAM disciplines are an important part of the American Education System today. Studies in the early 2000s revealed that students in the United States 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 and reports, educators prioritized the STEM disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Art was later added as a creative means for exploring these topics, expanding the acronym to “STEAM”.
STEAM at St. Viator
St. Viator Elementary School utilizes a variety of targeted solutions to address the STEAM deficit in the U.S. education system. We prepare our students for the critical and analytical thinking they will need to tackle these subjects throughout their educational careers. Math and Science occupy a prominent place in Primary School instruction through creative hands-on activities, inquiry-based units, technology-integration, and cooperative learning.
St. Viator Elementary School committed to the “A” for Art in September of 1997, pre-dating the STEM buzz. A group of parents created a Fine Arts education program they named “Art Zone”, a monthly experience focused on hands-on projects. Students learn about different artists and utilize a variety of media, chosen by the Art Zone Committee. All St. Viator students, from Preschool through Eighth grade, complete a project inspired by the month’s topic. Through Art Zone, the children use a variety of artistic styles, tools, and techniques they may not experience outside of school.
In 2015, the St. Viator Technology Committee created a “STEAM Night” to promote these disciplines. Working in cooperation with St. Patrick High School, a local Catholic High School, students in grades Kindergarten through 8th enjoy an evening focused on STEAM topics, enjoying creative activities that highlight Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Students participate in breakout sessions to complete hands-on projects and experiments, moving STEAM topics from theory to reality.
In the ‘19-’20 school year, St. Viator Elementary School hired Mrs. Maria Goslin as a dedicated STEM educator. She offers weekly STEM instruction for grades 1-5, with correlating activities for students to do at home. During the pandemic, Mrs. Goslin has streamed her lessons, bringing them right to students’ desks and homes. Her weekly direction provides students with classroom discussion and hands-on experiments that bring those lessons to reality. The goal is to creatively combine multi-media instruction with fun, “hands-on” learning opportunities.
St. Viator Elementary School celebrates the importance of STEAM topics in our curriculum, in our school culture, and in our larger society. It has been noted that in the first decade of the 21st century, growth in America’s STEM industries was three times the rate of growth in non-STEM-related jobs. St. Viator Elementary School embraces STEAM topics, looking to the future and preparing students for a workplace that hasn’t been fully defined. We work hard to demonstrate that STEM/STEAM disciplines play an important role at St. Viator Elementary School, and continue to promote technological literacy while teaching it in a creative manner.