STEAM and our Middle Level girls

dsc_0154Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Technology, otherwise known as STEAM, is a signature component of the Notre Dame Prep Middle Level (ML) Curriculum. And this year, ML STEAM received a tremendous boost thanks to a new Innovation Lab. Designed to support hands-on, collaborative learning, Innovation Lab houses some of the most advanced learning technology, including HP Sprout computers dsc_0179 with 3D scanning capabilities, 3D printers, a hands-on area with workbenches and real tools, and a media lab, from which the students can broadcast. Our amazing Middle Level STEAM lab would not have been possible without the generous support of the 2016 Gala and other donors.

Each month ML girls engage in different STEAM activities of varying levels of difficulty. For instance, in October:

  • Sixth graders built structures out of noodles designed to balance a marshmallow on the top.dsc_0196
  • Seventh graders worked on four separate activities with different materials to build a tower in 10 minutes.dsc_0138-copy
  • Eighth graders built complete circuits out of wires, magnets, paperclips, and batteries.dsc_0229-copy

The top five reasons that our middle level girls LOVE the new lab are:

  1. Three or four brains are better than one. With tables that can be configured for various group activities, the girls interact with each other and bond with new people that might not work with otherwise.
  2. The girls love to create and invent. Teamwork fosters creativity and creation, and the girls feel they have the chance to “mess around” with different technologies to create with endless possibilities.
  3. Horizons have been expanded. Participating in STEAM activities almost every week, the girls love how STEAM has been integrated into the entire ML curriculum. This change has opened the door to other careers and has allowed them to see engineering “in a new light.”
  4. The new lab is AWESOME! The girls love that the new lab has lots of new technology and space for them to explore, create, and build.
  5. It is fun. STEAM is fun, and the girls have grown to love doing the activities. STEAM allows them to “Think outside of the box” and take a break from typical classroom work.

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