What Happened to Reading, Writing & Arithmetic

November 16, 2016
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What Happened to Reading, Writing & Arithmetic

Rhonda Osborn, 4th Grade Teacher

Reading, writing, and arithmetic were the staples of education for many years. Students were taught the basic subjects separately and the content areas rarely intertwined. Reading was only taught during reading time, math was taught during math time. Spelling words were a list of words that teachers deemed important and they would be totally unrelated to any other subject. Writing would be taught only if there was extra time and would have no relation to what was being taught in other subjects.

STEAM has changed that. Just like a steam powered locomotive barreling down the tracks, STEAM is changing the way educators teach and how students learn in a powerful way. STEAM is science, technology, engineering, art, and math. It is project-based learning that focuses on real world challenges. It is applying classroom learning to the walls outside the school doors. It is making learning relevant to the world in which we live.

The goal of STEAM at Des Moines Christian School is to produce students who are critical thinkers and problem solvers who can make a positive impact on our global economy. It is interdisciplinary teaching and learning. It provides the opportunity to learn through research, observations, problem solving, analyzing, creating, and making improvements.

What does that actually look like for students in the classroom? Students will be out of their desks. They will be collaborating with other students to work effectively to solve a problem or challenge. The students will be communicating with each other and sharing ideas. They will be on computers researching. The students might be using a 3-D CAD program on their computer to design a prototype. DMCS students have the opportunity to take that computer prototype and create a model using the school's 3-D printer. Students will reflect on their work. They will state what they learned, what struggles or failures they encountered, and their ideas on how to improve their results.

STEAM is interactive and engaging for students while integrating all content areas into one study or unit. Using a project-based teaching model allows students to be successful in achieving the desired objectives while maintaining a high interest in their work. When students are interested, they are actively engaged which contributes to high productivity. The reading, writing, and arithmetic of past days are now replaced with more focused lessons intertwined within each other. Students are learning all areas of content in one unit.

Des Moines Christian School is leading the way with this new way of teaching. STEAM is inspiring students of all ages to become lifelong learners and is preparing students with the skills necessary for jobs in the 21st century. We are blessed to have teachers, administration, students, and parents supporting us in this endeavor as we bring glory to God through STEAM.