West Ferris students mentored their younger peers at E.T. Carmichael Public School for STEAM Day. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) is a cross-curricular and cross-panel program with a focus on project-based learning using a variety of computer-based technologies.
West Ferris is an Apple Distinguished School, and part of the STEAM program curriculum focuses on running outreach events in-house, and at other schools in the local educational community and across the province.
About 90 STEAM students in Grades 9 and 10 and select senior STEAM students from the Grade 11/12 iCoach course led E.T. Carmichael students in workshops focusing on integrating science, English, math and art with video production, robotics and coding and help to promote 21st-century digital literacy skills.
The iCoach course is designed to leverage the knowledge and skills that STEAM students have cultivated during Grades 9 and 10. Students enrolled in this course help to support the educational community by preparing and facilitating educational technology-related workshops, assisting teachers in planning lessons, and helping students to improve their use of educational technology to enhance their learning.
Brent Yacoback, STEAM Coordinator at West Ferris said, “Outreach events like this help our students to hone their leadership skills while demonstrating their mastery of educational technology. This also gives our students the opportunity to give back to the greater educational community and spread awareness of the importance of learning 21st-century digital literacy skills, like learning to code.”
One of the workshops had E.T. Carmichael students learning a new coding app called Swift Playgrounds. Students started by learning the various functions of the app and progressed to creating characters, instructions and functions with a partner. Finally, students using their coding knowledge to progress their character through a 3D world.
Grade 6 student Trey said, “I liked it, it was really fun. We used strips of paper with commands and put them in an order for our sculpture to follow on the map we had.”
Nichole, also in Grade 6 said “We used Swift Playgrounds and made the character teleport and move to the other side of the map to get the crystal. I thought the STEAM students made the lesson more fun. I forgot I was learning to code it was so fun.”
The Grade 4/5 class participated in an art/technology project using stop motion animation. The project introduced students to an early film concept that is still used today. Students created their own plasticine or LEGO characters and pieces and a stop motion set. They then used the characters and set to create and film their own storyline.
Grade 4/5 student Floyd said, “Doing stop motion with the STEAM students was a lot of fun. We used the iPad to take pictures and the computer to turn those pictures into a movie. Our movie was about saving animals with our superhero.”
“As a part of the modernizing of the science curriculum, where STEM is emphasized, we actively look for these opportunities to bring enriching experiences to our students here at E.T. Carmichael,” said Principal Jamey Byers. “Developing student 21st century literacy skills, including coding, which I would consider is a means of approaching mathematics across all areas of the curriculum, is also at the forefront of the outreach event. Coding provides students with immediate feedback, is often hands-on, and can be tailored to students’ interests. All of what is being done with this event helps with aligning our goals from school to board to ministry. We are lucky to have this event here for our students and staff, I know the West Ferris STEAM staff have worked hard to organize it.”