Full STEAM ahead for RCS elementary students

“What does the ‘M’ in STEAM stand for?” A.W. Becker STEAM teacher Kristyn Browzowski asked her third grade class.

“Math!” They replied eagerly.

student arranges legos on wallWith the new school year in full swing, students at the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk elementary schools are in for a new treat. Each class will now have a rotation of STEAM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics, classes. STEAM is a learning approach that focuses on inquiry, collaboration, and critical thinking with an emphasis on process-based learning.

Pieter B. Coeymans STEAM teacher Melissa Manning says STEAM allows students to be problem solvers.

“STEAM is such an exciting program to have in the elementary schools because it gives students an opportunity to take risks and learn from their risks,” Manning said.

“It’s so open-ended which allows for creativity and collaboration,” Browzowski adds. “It gives kids a chance to work together in a team and work with their hands.”

student make tower with colorful blocksManning and Browzowski stepped into their roles as STEAM teachers in the district this year and plan to work closely with one another throughout the year. They say the new STEAM curriculum is a great way to get students to think critically to solve problems.

“They are designing, testing and improving throughout the different lessons,” Browzowski said.

However, the lessons are not just about getting a problem correct or solving a challenge; students are meant to test hypotheses and improve upon initial solutions, learning along the way.

“I wants kids to know that their solution may not work the first time and they learn by improving their design or project,” Browzowski said.

Overall, the program aims to create 21st Century thinkers.

“I think STEAM is an important program for students to have access to because it teaches them the skills and ways of thinking they will need to be successful in life,” Manning said.