An Interdisciplinary Approach


STEAM is an interdisciplinary educational approach that integrates the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. It is an extension of the traditional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) model, with the inclusion of Arts to foster creativity and innovation. STEAM education aims to equip students with a well-rounded skill set that combines scientific and technical knowledge with creative and artistic thinking, encouraging them to become critical thinkers and problem solvers.

St Aloysius runs STEAM as a year-long subject in Years 7 and 8, a trimester elective in Year 9, and semester elective in Year 10. At each year level students are required to complete a range of both group and independent projects. Each project is linked with various aspects of the Science, Technology, Arts, and/or Mathematics curriculum at that level. This term at St Aloysius, students in Year 7 are building Hot air balloons, the Year 8s are exploring Robotics, Year 9s are making racer cars, and the year 10 students are designing their own STEAM-based solutions to the United Nations Sustainability Goals.

The components of STEAM include:

  • Science: This component focuses on understanding the natural world through observation, experimentation, and analysis. Students learn scientific principles and methodologies to explore various phenomena, conduct experiments, and develop an understanding of how things work.
  • Technology: In this aspect of STEAM, students learn about the use and application of tools, machines, and digital technologies. This includes coding, programming, using software and hardware, and understanding how technology can solve problems and enhance various fields.
  • Engineering: Involves the application of scientific and mathematical principles to design, create, and improve systems, structures, and products. Students learn engineering design processes, problem-solving skills, and how to work collaboratively to develop innovative solutions.
  • Arts: The Arts component encourages students to explore their creativity through various mediums, such as visual arts, performing arts, music, and more. It promotes critical thinking, communication, and self-expression, fostering a holistic development of students' abilities.
  • Mathematics: Mathematics serves as the foundation for the other STEAM components. It involves logical reasoning, quantitative analysis, and problem-solving skills. Math is crucial in understanding patterns, data analysis, and modelling in various STEAM fields.

Key principles and benefits of STEAM education include:

  • Interdisciplinary Learning: STEAM integrates knowledge from multiple subjects, helping students understand real-world connections and the relevance of what they learn in different contexts.
  • Hands-on Learning: STEAM encourages active, experiential learning through practical projects, experiments, and problem-solving activities, promoting a deeper understanding of concepts.
  • Creativity and Innovation: By incorporating arts into the traditional STEM subjects, STEAM fosters creativity, imagination, and innovative thinking among students.
  • Collaboration and Communication: STEAM often involves teamwork, where students learn to collaborate effectively, communicate their ideas, and respect diverse perspectives.
  • Critical Thinking: STEAM education emphasizes critical thinking and analytical skills, encouraging students to question, investigate, and solve complex problems.
  • Real-World Application: STEAM concepts are often applied to real-world scenarios, preparing students for future careers and challenges they may face in the professional world.

STEAM education is gaining popularity worldwide, as it equips students with versatile skills that are increasingly relevant in today's rapidly evolving and technology-driven society. It encourages a holistic approach to learning and prepares students to become lifelong learners and adaptable contributors to their communities and the global workforce.

Year 7 Hot Air Balloon Challenge
This term the Year 7s are working in teams to design and build working models of hot air balloons. Students learn about the scientific principles of gravity and density, and how these principles act together to enable a hot air balloon to rise. They learn about the mathematical principles of measurement, area, surface area and volume, and use their understanding to construct hot air balloon nets. Students create their own artistic design of their hot air balloon, before releasing them into the air! Students collaborate to achieve a common goal, developing communication, organisational, creative, and problem-solving skills.

Year 8 Robotics
This term the Year 8 students are learning about robotics. Students explore what robots are, their different parts and applications in real-world scenarios. Students learn about the basic hardware code used in all robotic, computers, and electronic devices the binary code. They explore how binary code is used to build computer programming languages such as Scratch, mBlock, Arduino, and Python. Students are then introduced to the simple block-based programming language Scratch, which they use to program a virtual robot; and mBlock which they use to program a real life physical robot, the mBOT.

Year 9 Racers
Year 9 students are making Racer Cars. Students learn about the physics associated with moving objects, forces and motion. They explore what makes an object aerodynamic and how to make electric circuits. Students then use these scientific principles to design and produce their own electric powered Racer Car. Students are introduced to the mathematical concepts of speed, and acceleration, and use these concepts to measure and calculate the speed and acceleration of their own racer cars.

Year 10 STEM United Nation Sustainability Goals Solutions Project.
Year 10 students are working in teams to design their own STEAM based solutions to one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Students explore the UN's sustainability goals and the problems that the future earth is likely to face, they then pick one of the goals to centre their project around. Students use the design process to define the problem, conduct research, brainstorm sustainable solutions, produce a prototype which then tested, and released into the public. In this project students utilise their science, mathematical and technological understanding and skills gained across Years 7-9 to develop creative science- and technological-based solutions to real world problems.