Currently, there’s a large push in education for more STEM-based curriculum (and even more recently, that’s expanded into STREAM). But what does this mean? What does it look like? And how does St. Lawrence Seminary use this curriculum? This article will break it all down.
What is STEM/STREAM?
STEM education is an educational curriculum of science, technology, engineering and math. Students in STEM programs may have more experiential learning opportunities, but they are limited to only these subjects. Our economy requires so much more than an understanding of these areas – it requires application, creation and ingenuity.
STREAM education is an approach to learning that uses science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking. It also incorporates reading, writing and religion. Using STREAM education results in students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. These are the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century! At St. Lawrence Seminary, we use STREAM curriculum.
STEM/STREAM at St. Lawrence Seminary
STREAM is integrated into the core curriculum of all St. Lawrence Seminary classes. While only three years of math and science are required, 90% of our students will take four years of each. Being able to think, write and speak in each discipline is part of the STREAM process that is taught within our curriculum.
Some of how we use STEM/STREAM in all our courses is as follows:
- Students read novels to understand emotions and how people interact
- Students are educated about history, not for the dates, but do understand how we got were we are, what has been tried in the past and how to collaborate together.
- Students learn math, not to solve math problems, but to use that ability to solve problems that affect people
- Students study science to appreciate the wonder that we live in and to use that knowledge to help people
- Students perform music or create works of art not just for their beauty, but because it allows them to be creative
We also have a few programs above-and-beyond our core curriculum that further students’ understanding of these topics.
We a wide array of elective courses for students that fall under the STEM/STREAM umbrella:
- Advanced Woodshop
- Advanced Art
- Mechanical Drawing
- Advanced Mechanical Drawing
- Business Law
- Advanced Computer Applications
- Creating Writing
- Social Problems I & II
- Psychology I & II
- Probability and Statistics
- Project Design
- Literary Genres
- World Literature
- Modern World Literature
- Introduction to Christian Theology.
Three of these elective courses are strongly rooted in STEM/STREAM: Mechanical Drawing, Advanced Computer Applications and Project Design.
Mechanical Drawing deals with design. Students learn Autodesk Fusion 360 from which they will design a project and use the 3D printer to create it.
Advanced Computer Applications teaches a wide sampling of programing, web design, data management and computer ethical issues.
Project Design brings in collaboration, project management, an understanding of what has led to a problem, how the solution will impact society. One project was to create a game show buzzer type device. While a basic electrical engineering problem, the students had to also report on the effect of mining to obtain the wire on both the environment and people.
All are designed to enhance critical thinking skills and finding new ways to solve old problems.
At the end of the year, students complete their capstone projects, which often involve STEM learning. This past year the projects included Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Climate Change and Access to Clean Water in the Developing World.
This research project enables students to gather information from reliable sources, synthesize such information as well as propose and action plan for dealing with the concern.
While many people focus on STEM, STREAM allows for the inclusion of many more subjects. By integrating these subjects together, students have a more eminent approach to problems and a large cache of various types of problem-solving skills.
Learn more about STEM/STREAM programs and our entire curriculum with the Parent’s Guide to SLS.
St. Lawrence Seminary is an all boys Catholic boarding school located in Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin. We welcome students from Minnesota, Illinois and across the United States. Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the example of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Lawrence Seminary provides a residential college preparatory education in a living Catholic community nurturing mature, well-rounded men of faith. See if St. Lawrence is right for you and your son.