Full STEAM ahead at LMS!
STEAM – at Loveland Middle School (LMS) it doesn’t refer to a hot cup of coffee or boiling water… but you could say LMS is STEAMing all over the campus! The acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics, and for seventh and eighth grade students in these classes it means innovation.
Take for instance the Genius Hour where seventh grade science teachers Catie Rudisell, Brian Hartman and Chad Blackburn challenged students to think creatively on problem solving from areas of investigation ranging from pet therapy certification to solving local traffic issues.
“The goal of the Genius Hour project was to give the students the opportunity to discover or investigate something they are interested in and to share that learning with others,” said Science Teacher Catie Rudisell. “The seventh grade science department decided to do this project to promote and support innovative thinking and give the students control over their own learning.”
Instructor Sara James teaches Design Modeling and Automation Robotics at LMS; both are Project Lead the Way courses. The students use a multitude of technology and the engineering design process, including one programming language that is used to write code, all to develop the ability to solve real-world problems with a design solutions.
“I like the creativity part of this class,” said student Jolie Martin.
“Getting to see students really enjoy STEAM is great,” said James. “Their successes after their failures are my absolute favorite part of this class!”
So, what does art innovation look like? Just ask the new Digital Arts teacher at LMS, Kacey Watkins. She has assigned the students a variety of projects using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, SketchUp, Scratch and WeVideo to create original cards and recreate famous artworks.
“I love how much we work together in the process of creating digital art,” said Watkins. “There is a lot of room for creativity. We can learn from our failures. Some of their projects teach me new skills which gives them confidence in return.”
“It’s a class where you can really be yourself and create what you want to make,” said student Emily Reardon.
A team of math teachers has taken on a fresh approach in the traditional classroom.
"Restructuring our classroom procedures and grading has given students the flexibility to explore the content at their own pace,” said Math Teacher Abby Beach.
The teachers opted to make the change after visiting another school to learn about projects in mathematics.
The seventh grade math team said the ability to structure a more personalized approach piqued the team’s interest in trying a Standards Based Model that allows students to be assessed when they are ready. The team talked with students, parents and other educators to plan for and implement this new structure, which they said they feel like has been very successful and beneficial to students. Not only are students working at their own pace, but they are taking a closer look at their own learning and study habits. They are taking more ownership and appreciate the opportunity to work at their own pace.
“This year has given students opportunities to succeed and push themselves further,” said Math Teacher Stephanie Bradford. “We've found time for extra help and extended projects within our 45 minute classes."
“Through innovation in the classroom, these teachers are guiding students to own their learning,” said Innovative Instructional Coach Laura Holtkamp. “This ownership is sure to lead them to a path of lifelong learning. We’re defining innovation in the middle school. The definition can take on many forms here. Embracing best practices in the classroom in order to meet the needs of all our students is the heart of our work as educators.”
Photo caption (L to R): LMS students Brooklyn Smith, Jessica Gibbins and Taylor Goorhouse work collaboratively on a project.