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What is STEAM?

STEAM is an integrated approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics to guide student inquiry, collaboration, and critical thinking. Our curriculum provides activities that foster true innovation that comes with combining the mind of a scientist with that of an artist or designer.

What is the difference between STEAM and STEM?

STEAM and STEM are similar philosophies that focus on integrating subjects in a meaningful way while promoting collaboration and problem solving. STEAM is even more powerful because it intentionally exposes students to the Arts to help them develop creativity, imagination, and innovation. As students demonstrate their knowledge through drawings, music, drama, and information technology, their learning and understanding deepens.

How are the Science Standards connected?

STEAM lessons, at ASHK, are built upon the Next Generation Science Standards which are designed to prepare students to succeed in a global economy. With the incorporation of the science and engineering practices, our STEAM program guides the students through the Engineering Design Process (Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, and Improve) to encourage innovation and creativity. Standards for Earth and Space Science, Life Science, Physical Science, and Engineering and Technology are incorporated throughout the program across all grade levels. As scientists, engineers, innovators, and designers, our students learn how to ask critical questions, research the problem, develop possible solutions, build prototypes, test and evaluate their designs, and then redesign as need.

How is STEAM taught?

The ASHK STEAM program requires students to be active and engaged. The approach is very hands-on in nature. Students will frequently be called upon to gather supplies, construct models, and test designs. They will work both in and outside the classroom making good use of ASHK’s outdoor space and proximity to green-space and nature.

Through STEAM, students develop ownership and responsibility for their education as they face many time management and decision making challenges. Students will become very effective at teamwork, flexible thinking, creative problem solving and the importance of student collaboration. Studies show that teams tend to innovate faster, see mistakes more quickly, and find better solutions to problems.

What is the format of a STEAM lesson?

Using an inquiry approach, teachers will begin a lesson by discovering what students already know about a given topic. Students will then be placed in teams and presented with a problem that may require a design solution, construction of a model, or fabrication of a final product. For example, in first grade, students will be able to provide evidence that vibrating materials can make sound and that sound can make materials vibrate. To accomplish this objective, students participate in activities that show sound’s effect on various materials. Students will then use their observations to create instruments. Fifth grade students will be able to support the argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down. Students will use their knowledge to design parachutes and measure how well they delay gravity’s force.

The benefits of STEAM:

The benefits of STEAM can be summed up by the words of engineer and physicist Theodore von Karman, "Scientists discover the world that exists; engineers create the world that never was." At American School Hong Kong, we are dedicated to maximizing the creative and innovative capacity of our students to help them become what our Mission statement speaks to: "independent critical thinkers, and responsible global citizens who excel in their future studies and careers."

STEAM examples at ASHK

Take a look at the science class experiment by ASHK students! They were testing out their parachutes, to learn more about the concept of gravity, and the impact of gravity on the drifting of parachutes in different sizes.