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STEAM

STEAM is the planned integration of science, technology, engineering, art and math. Eagle Creek children consistently tackle STEAM projects that combine these disciplines, which encourages deep thinking, and friendly collaboration. All Eagle Creek children in kindergarten through 5th grade have STEAM classes with our dedicated STEAM teacher every day. The children also do STEAM activities in their regular classrooms.

2024 STEAM SHOWCASE

Eagle Creek's students brought the story of the greedy spider and his mysterious marble to life through interactive STEAM activities. Bubbles, student-created games and projects, miniature golf, augmented reality, robots, engineering, and art come together to create one magical event!

Project-based Learning

At Eagle Creek, we teach science through big projects and the total integration of technology, engineering, art, math, reading and writing.

 

For example, recently, the fourth-grade students watched a series of short videos about plants and animals and how they adapt to the world's major biomes. Then, the children built the world's biomes using Lego bricks. Each ecosystem displayed the plants and animals typically found there, as well as evidence of a food chain. Later, the children wrote scripts explaining the food chains, the animals' defenses, and other ways in which the animals use the environment to survive. The culminating project was a green screen video presentation during which the students narrated their scripts while seeming to be inside their Lego displays.

 

In another unit, the fourth graders investigated slow changes to the earth with a focus on soil erosion. The challenge for each "farm team" was to design a way to prevent the erosion of their farmland into a nearby river. First, through reading about the Dust Bowl, the children learned about the importance of tall grasses, shrubbery, and tree roots when it comes to keeping soil in its place. They also observed Google images of exposed tree roots along a riverbank to understand how trees bind soil. Then, again through image research, they learned about the strategies terrace farmers use in the mountainous terrain of India, as well as how farmers in ancient Egypt built lake reservoirs and irrigation channels to capture water and guide it into their fields.  Finally, the students observed the construction of seawalls along California's coastline. Armed with this rich toolbox of information, the students designed their own soil protections using clay, popsicle sticks, cotton balls, aluminum foil, silverware, straws, and bottle caps.  They "purchased" their items within the constraints of a budget and then tested the effectiveness of their designs as they poured water over their models.

 

As you can see, by integrating science with hands-on activities and technology, engineering, art, math, reading, and writing, ECA's students learn more deeply and practice key 21st-century skills such as collaboration, using technology with purpose, and solving complicated problems.

Grade 5: Battery-operated Cars

Each group designed a battery-operated car (including the body, the axle and the wheels) out of recycled materials. The final race was the best part!

steam project

Grade 4: Electric Quiz Board

Each team constructed a "question and answer board," wiring the back so a buzzer sounded or a light went off when the player selected the correct answers. This project combined science, social studies topics, and a lot of group work.

engineering

Grade 3: Testing Paper

The children folded paper into columns & experimented to see which kind of column would hold more weight (rectangular, triangular, cylindrical, etc). Being active participants in the project helped them internalize the concept of weightbearing.

discovering physics

Grade 2: Building a Tiny House

Students explored people's needs vs. wants in a home. Then, they planned, designed, and built their dream tiny homes. They really enjoyed choosing and combining known materials in new ways.

innovative thinking

Grade 1: Squishy Circuits

The children learned about electric circuits and conducting and insulating materials as they built light-up sculptures using playdough, LED lights, and batteries. This hands-on activity led them to ask detailed questions about electricity and prompted another, more complex unit.

electric circuits

Kindergarten: Coding

As a way to start learning coding, these young children created mazes. Then, they directed the mouse through the mazes using the arrows on the controller. Sometimes, they had to adjust the mazes to make the project work. Afterwards, they felt smart and happy for figuring it out. 

coding

Grade 5: 3-D Printing

This student used 3-D software called Tincercad to design a board game based on the book A Long Walk to Water. The pieces he printed represented the characters. He was very proud of his new skills!

3d printing

Grade 4: Papier Mache Sculptures

Students chose an animal to research and sculpt with paper mache. The first step in creating their sculpture was to use the grid method to enlarge their image. This was a great way to integrate math and art and really helped the children see the value of both in real life.

architect class

Grade 3: Making a Piano

One of the third-graders' favorite projects is using the MakeyMakey board as an interface between the computer and some play dough to make a working piano. They love showing off their engineering and piano-playing skills in the same activity.

makey makey circuits

Grade 2: Rube Goldberg Machines

Working in small groups, the students used their knowledge of simple machines such as wheels, inclined planes and wedges, to design a Rube Goldberg chain reaction machine. This project required a lot of patience and teamwork, and the kids loved the final moment when the whole contraption worked.

rube goldberg contraptions

Grade 1: Stop-motion Animation

Using animation, each small group retold the story they had written by designing backgrounds and molding clay figures to represent their characters. They learned about sequencing, creating animated films, and expressing stories through digital storytelling. What a great way to combine their growing technology and writing skills. 

animation project

Kindergarten: Shadow Puppets

The kindergarteners made hand puppets and used flashlights to explore how shadows are created from objects that block light. They discovered that shadows can be shrunk, enlarged and manipulated in various ways. This new knowledge motivated them to ask how clouds form their shapes, which was a fun and educational next step.

kindergarten stem

From Mrs. Weigand,
ECA's Full-time STEAM Teacher

"The STEAM lab at ECA is always buzzing with curiosity and excitement. Together, we explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math through hands-on projects, digital games, simulations, outdoor activities, and team challenges. What could be more fun than that? But it's not just fun. We take everything to the next level. We’re not just building a tower. We’re building a warrior plant with the tallest, strongest stem and the largest flower head possible. Likewise, we’re creating a zipline to study the nutrition needs of an apex predator. We’re producing a fashion-show relay race to show off the adaptations of a camel. These experiences, in which we integrate science with other subject matter, help students understand the world and bring a huge level of engagement. To me, the smiles and laughter are worth all the time preparing. I can’t wait to see what the kids will ask about next."

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