Calgary Academy recognized National STEM Day on Nov. 8 to celebrate initiatives in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education.
With such a wide range of initiatives included in the acronym STEM, students’ personal interests are a huge component in the project design and intersect with other subjects and disciplines in several ways. From programming robots to competing in engineering challenges, turning artwork into interactive electrical adventures, or virtually connecting for a Q&A with the Canadian Space Agency to chat with a Canadian astronaut trainer, STEM education provides a broad array of learning for students.
Jenn Ferguson, who has been co-leading STEM initiatives at CA since 2014, has been one of the trailblazers of the program that encourages the use of technology with purpose, including research, problem solving, critical thinking, and applying knowledge in creative and innovative ways. Some of the primary outcomes of STEM education are computational thinking and executive functioning skills, approaches, and habits of mind.
“The STEM curriculum can help students develop and apply skills to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve goals, maintain positive relationships and reinforce social-emotional learning competencies. It presents opportunities for students to participate and succeed in scientific inquiry, engineering design, problem-solving with real-world context, hands-on learning, curiosity, creativity, fostering student engagement and motivation, collaboration and critical thinking.” – Jenn Ferguson
Here’s some examples of activities that students have experienced over the years, just to name a few:
- Attending the Canada 2067 Youth Summit in 2018 where they contributed their voices among more than 1,000 Grade 9 and 10 students from across Canada to the develop a national vision for STEM education.
- Built their own version of the NASA Solar System Exploration￼ Mars Rover.
- Created their own cardboard instruments connected to Makey Makey.
- Created many Sphero and littleBits edTech inventions.
- Talked virtually with Canadian Space Agency Operations Engineer with Mission Control, Kristen Facciol, and more.