LEARNERS CRAVE CONTEXT.
We all learn best when the topic we are studying is closely associated with situations and scenarios whose meaning we clearly understand. Devoid of context, students have historically struggled with motivation to study a subject they esteem to have little meaning. Project-based learning seeks to provide context to any learning discipline, elevating the students’ appreciation and appraisal of it. When the learning topics are science and mathematics, and the contextual backdrop reveals the usefulness of technology and engineering skills, a unique, synchronous symbiosis can occur. We call this dynamic cauldron of creativity and innovative thinking STEM. STEM is the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics into a transdisciplinary subject, and students of all ages benefit from its practice.
A growing body of research suggests the enterprise of STEM as a transdisciplinary subject can be advanced and enhanced by systematically infusing it with the Arts. Such an approach is known as STEAM, and is a comparatively new proving ground that has increasingly gained traction as an educational methodology. Mount Paran Christian School makes use of both STEM and STEAM approaches.
Mount Paran Christian School is intent on providing relevant educational experiences that leave lasting impressions on students’ minds and hearts, instilling durable knowledge and equipping students with skills and tools to engage the culture and workforce of the twenty-first century. From preschool through high school, each division has initiated an aligned action plan that serves to develop students in STEM and STEAM disciplines. From pre-K STEAM to high school Project Lead the Way®, the learning experiences themselves are authentic, hands-on, and application-oriented. Students are engaged as investigators, experimenters, designers, and makers. At MPCS we honor students’ inquisitive nature to explore and discover the created world (Psalm 111:2), as well as nurture the ability to design and create new and innovative solutions to problems. In this way, students are trained both to uncover that which has never been known about our world, while creating and innovating a designed environment that has not yet existed (Exodus 35:30-35).