Although the world of education is abuzz with STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and while LWGMS offers classes in all areas of a STEM, we recognize that something critical to a balanced education is missing from this acronym. A purely STEM focused approach relies heavily on left-brain functions. LWGMS is committed to offering courses that use both sides of the brain. Classes rich in language arts, social studies, drama and fine art ensure that our focus is “whole-brained.” Education researchers at the National Science Foundation and program and policy advisors at the National Endowment for the Arts all recognize that in order to compete in the 21st century, schools must give equal weight to the arts, creativity, and the skills of imagination and synthesis.* As educators, we must provide educational opportunities that endeavor to integrate the arts, sciences, and technology for this to happen. LWGMS already embraces this educational model, and is currently in the process of developing curriculum for our students that is cutting edge, one that teaches 21st century skills and fosters resiliency: STEAM.
Starting this month, LWGMS eighth graders will participate in a seven-week architecture and design class. The class will be taught by guest instructor, Grace Schlitt, an engaging, versatile, creative, and focused professional with 18+ years experience as an architect, designer, artist, project manager, and community leader. Ms. Schlitt thrives in collaborative, mission-driven environments where entrepreneurial skills, creative thinking, and community involvement are valued – a perfect fit for LWGMS! Ms. Schlitt's class will lead the girls through the design process; their final product will be a design for an LWGMS theater.
We are thrilled to be able to offer this to the girls, as it pulls together many aspects of important learning. In addition to math and art skills, this STEAM design class will incorporate problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, presentation, prototyping, and response to critique (resilience).
If you'd like to know more about design thinking and how it is important to curriculum and instruction, or about STEAM in schools, check out these websites: steamconnect.org and www.Stanford.edu. If you're interested in further supporting STEAM and design curriculum at LWGMS, we'd be happy to talk to you about our ideas!
* “Strategies for Arts + Science + Technology Research: Executive Report on a Joint Meeting of the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts,” September, 2010.