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STEAM Curriculum

Nurture Curiosity, Expect Creativity STEAM Curriculum

We strongly believe that Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics programs reinvigorate student learning. Moreover, we believe that by being a STEAM school we are better able to serve the need of our students. We strive to be the best STEAM school in Los Angeles by providing a hub for Science, Engineering, Technology, Arts and Advanced Math learning, and a place where students innovate, learn to take student-centered approach to problem-solving and innovation. This belief reflects the reality of how the human mind works and what the 21st Century working environments functions. We believe that the human mind requires us to be involved in creative problem solving using both hemispheres of the brain - left and right, constructive and descriptive, intuitive and logical, approximate and precise, working hand in hand, together, collaboratively, in a soup of curiosity and passion to synergize meaning and growth; and that literacy progresses quickest when students are involved collaboratively and creatively problem solve, using their content knowledge as food for their designs. This design framework is woven into all content areas of the school.

 

We are certain of the inextricable relationship between the sciences and the arts. As students develop mastery in one, they simultaneously improve proficiency in the other. In multiple studies, students who studied music showed improved spatial temporal reasoning skills, which helped them later learn math concepts (Graziano, 2002). Students who participate in the arts also consistently do better on standardized tests, including the SAT, than students who study core content alone. (College Board, 2006) Indeed, the right and left hemispheres of the brain work best in concert, aiding and enabling creative solutions to complex problems.

We also believe that, in order for a STEAM school to be successful, at its core, it must expect, demand, and support academic rigor. In particular, we believe that literature and mathematical literacy of the highest degree should be expected for all the students in such a school. And that, instruction should be personalized enough that students can accelerate at their own pace, regardless of their grade or starting point.

 

We believe that a STEAM school must also reflect the changing nature of technology’s role in society and learning. Today’s youth participate in a digital culture where access to media creation, multi-modality and the personalization of education through their own experiences empower them to take control of their own learning in ways we could never have imagined. Education is not solely bound by institutions anymore, but it happens everywhere. We, as educators, need to re- imagine education for the 21st century, by meeting students where they are learning. Where that learning lies is not only in school, but also in “the increasing complexity, connectivity, and velocity of our new knowledge society” (MacArthur Foundation, 2012). We are convinced that our students have to be more nimble and more proficient with technology to communicate and to learn. We know from studies in the areas of multiple literacies, new literacy studies, multimodal literacies, and digital literacies that students bring with them skills that remain untapped in the classroom setting.

 

By incorporating both traditional literacy and new media literacies, students at Irving are empowered to interpret information through various media. Working as digital designers in all aspects of a project-based curriculum empowers our students to take charge of their own educational experience in collaborative ways that are relevant to their interests, developing an everlasting sense of creative confidence that can serve them within their communities and a competitive global economy throughout life.

 

As Margaret Honey, CEO of the New York Hall of Science stated, “STEAM is more about fundamentally changing education to incorporate the experimentation and exploration that is at the heart of effective education.” At Irving, we strongly believe the STEAM school environment we created, enables our students to make connections between the sciences and the arts making them extraordinary problem- solvers and visionaries. Our goal is that every student at Irving is driven to see