STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics)
What is the STEAM Group?
The STEAM Group is a new initiative intended to build on the school’s successful development of a holistic curriculum. It consists of a team of teachers from a broad range of Faculties who have an interest in the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, arts and maths, and who are enthusiastic about working beyond their own academic field. Increasingly, the solving of real-life problems in the above areas requires an integrated approach using many common concepts and ideas, with individuals bringing subject-specific knowledge, methods and skills. This can be seen in fields as diverse as medicine, underwater exploration, architecture and aerospace engineering. The STEAM Group has come together to further create and coordinate opportunities for students to experience this multidisciplinary approach through regular lessons, interdisciplinary units, CCAs and experiential learning during events such as Creative Week, and so develop skills, understanding and attitudes that will help them make the most of their talents both at school and beyond.
What are some examples of STEAM activities?
In 2018-19, the Individuals and Societies Faculty and Sciences Faculty came together to deliver an interdisciplinary unit called Rivers to Form 2. This began in the classroom with the teaching of discipline-specific knowledge and skills, which was followed by combined fieldwork looking at land use, development and water quality. Another example involved Form 5 students working with an external agency to design, build and deploy a marine robot to survey the health of coral reefs in the Sai Kung area. Finally, during Creative Week, a group of F3-5 students travelled to the Philippines to learn to scuba dive. As well as mastering dive skills, the beginner certification required that students learn and apply some dive physics and physiology. Students who could already dive had the opportunity to learn underwater navigation, additional dive theory for deeper diving and the use of additional equipment for safe wreck penetration and night diving.
Why is a focus on STEAM helpful to students?
CSS has a strong track record of students getting places on prestigious Higher Education courses in STEAM related subjects, universities often making generous offers to our graduates. Any good school can teach subject knowledge and many will use technology to achieve this, but the holistic and coordinated way in which we deliver our curriculum and extracurricular opportunities helps students to present themselves to universities and prospective employers in a particularly good light and as a consequence they have been successful at university entry. Some examples of the skills that we help to develop that universities look for include problem solving, divergent thinking, design thinking, taking the initiative, digital literacy, programming and robotics. The courses that CSS offers all have a substantial component of assessments based around critical thinking. Focusing on concepts and experiences that cross subject boundaries and provide a real-world context for problem solving allows students to demonstrate the information literacy and transfer skills that are so important to strong critical thinking. Another focus of the STEAM Group is helping with the development and outfitting of teaching spaces to allow multidisciplinary activities to take place. The school recently built a new multi-function space that is suitable for theatre, film-making, robotics workshops and more, which now needs to be equipped. We hope this is the first such project of many.