One of the key strengths of the PYP curriculum is its framework and approach that naturally embeds iSTEAM through integrated transdisciplinary learning.
Our iSTEAM programme adopts this integrated approach to Innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. As a result, students at GEMS gain a deeper, more complete understanding. And, better still, it gives them the inventive flair needed to become tomorrow’s innovators and entrepreneurs.
Every unit of inquiry is thoughtfully planned to include authentic connections to elements of science, technology, engineering, arts or maths and woven in for a rich experience.
Over the past few years, we have had a Tech Integration Specialist to help us set up our lab rooms and resources to support student learning. With everything now established, teachers now book the labs as and when they need that environment for investigations. Contrary to common misconceptions, iSTEAM learning is not restricted to taking place only in the lab. Teams have also been borrowing the equipment from the lab to support learning in their classrooms and pod spaces. In some cases, the learning took students to the field, in the stairwell, in the hallways and even on the playground. We go wherever the learning takes us!
Here are some of the examples of what we've been doing this year and how iSTEAM is incorporated in our classroom activities:
The students are exploring material properties to engineer ideas about uniform fit for purpose within our school environment. This involved prototyping uniforms with a range of materials and collecting data as to their effectiveness.
The students are using lego and simple machine kits to explore the mechanics of simple machines, the concept of force and how simple machines help in our world. From there, students used Kane’s arcade for inspiration to build their own designs.
The students explored the parts of the human body in the iSTEAM room using the science models, taking apart and putting back all the organs and guts without the gore.
As we move through the year, other grades will utilise both space and resources to connect understanding to engineering principles through both units of inquiry and design/tech challenges.
The students will be using littleBits as well as Makey Makes to explore electricity as a form of energy, as well as to conduct various experiments.
The students will explore the states and properties of matter in order to gain new understandings about the world. Science will form a core to this unit with the application of scientific understandings being used in design and engineering challenges.
The students explore technologies from past civilisations, including the role of simple machines and how those technologies still exist in the present. Students then explore innovation for the future.
Strong connections are made between our focus on forces and energy, along with iSTEAM. Students will be using various resources to explore sustainable energy forms and energy transfer and transformation.
We are excited to continue to have access to both spaces and resources that help students explore the application of scientific principles in solving problems and genuinely connect with our units of inquiry and written curriculum, both supporting and extending understandings.
PYP Curriculum Coordinator | ELP Coordinator | Grade 5 Educatior