STEAM Lab and Library Conversion
Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.
The school leadership team, Buildings and Grounds Sub-committee and the School Council have spent significant time over the last 12 months planning improvements to the school buildings that will have a direct and sizeable impact on the way our students learn. School Council has committed to investing $100,000 in major buildings and grounds updates over 2017-2018. One of the major projects that we have identified, planned and will complete by the end of 2017 is the construction of a STEAM Lab and conversion of our School Library.
STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths. This is often also referred to as STEM (without the Arts) and the development of skills, engagement and learning capacity in these subject areas is a priority for Marlborough and for education across our state. Developing strong foundational skills in these subjects provides our students with the ability to succeed in secondary and post-secondary education as well as equipping our students to be entrepreneurial, creative, collaborative thinkers.
Our vision for STEAM learning at Marlborough is one where the work is student-led, highly engaging, challenging and fun. We will improve our learning outcomes in the key subject areas of maths and science by ensuring the students are not just learning core skills and practising them through repetition, but they get the opportunity to apply and test their skills and knowledge in a meaningful and authentic way.
Walking in to our STEAM Lab next year you will see students involved in all manner of exciting tasks that could include (but are not limited to):
- coding lego robotics and other programmable robots
- solving engineering problems such as constructing bridges, vehicles, machines
- working with electronic circuitry
- exploring the use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind-power
- looking at the properties of aerodynamics and testing and re-testing to make improvements
- experimenting with chemical science to test and prove hypotheses
- testing water samples taken from our Frog Bog and collating data from these tests
- creating works of art that incorporate skills from maths, science, engineering and technology
- building things that fly, float, slide, roll, etc
We identified that we will need quite a large space in order to have room to store technical equipment, room to keep unfinished projects and room for different groups of students to work on projects. The space we are planning to convert into the STEAM Lab is where our current library is situated. The library will have a custom hard floor, storage cabinets and bench spaces, a lego wall, flexible furniture options that allow for different grouping arrangements and audio-visual displays for instruction and sharing of work.
Whilst we need a large space for our STEAM Lab, many of us at school have also identified for a long time that our library has too much empty space. When engaging a classroom in shared story time or discussion about a book, it is not ideal to have a huge empty space for students to spread themselves out in. Our plan is to move our library into the Meeting Room which is currently situated next to it. In order to this we will be extending the wall from the edge of the meeting room to extend the size of this space, moving all the Fiction Shelves into the new library space, installing soft lighting and colourful and comfortable furnishings, using the extended space as a 'book pantry' to store chapter books and organising our non-fiction books into categories that are tied to our curriculum and then moving them into the classrooms .
With this complete, our library will be a much more inviting, warm and exciting place for reading to the class, borrowing books and discussing literature. In this electronic information age, many of our non-fiction books are now largely redundant and our library will be used less for reference and more for developing a love of reading.
We have created a vision board, which includes the plans for this upgrade. This is located on the wall outside the library and will be able to give you a better picture of what the rooms will look like.
Significant Professional Development for all of our teaching staff will support the development of learning in our STEAM Lab. We will further develop our capacity in delivering high impact STEAM education in order to improve learning outcomes across these vital curriculum areas.
As with any changes in the school, I welcome any members our community with questions or concerns about these changes to send me an email, give me a call or make an appointment to come and have a chat.