Education Station: STEAM Explained, A Farmington Public Schools' Perspective

One of the hottest words in education right now is the word, STEAM. What does STEAM really mean? STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. STEAM in most cases, is not a program, rather a philosophy of teaching and learning. It is a student-directed process that uses creative real world problem solving, while integrating content areas, such as mathematics and science. 

To be successful in the 21st century workplace and in college, students need to learn how to take initiative, become responsible, be confident, problem solve, work in teams, communicate ideas, and manage themselves more effectively. These are the underpinnings of STEAM and Project Based Learning. Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time investigating and responding to an authentic, engaging question, problem, or challenge. In a STEAM environment, the methodology for teaching and learning shifts. Teachers in this model, direct and guide learners through problem solving real world issues. Students learn how to work together in teams with passion as the driving force behind learning.

In 2012, Farmington Public Schools charged one of their elementary schools, Highmeadow Common Campus, with reinventing the school’s vision. The Highmeadow staff began researching and implementing practices to support learning in the 21st Century and beyond. In 2013, Highmeadow began developing their STEAM philosophy through the implementation of design challenges in grades K-4. After extensive research, Farmington Public Schools decided to officially launch a STEAM specific school. The Farmington STEAM Academy will open it’s doors to more than 645 students in grades K-7 the fall of 2017.  In the fall of 2018, 788 students are expected in grades K-8.

Farmington Public Schools’ STEAM model ignites students to be innovative thinkers and problem solvers through creativity, collaboration, communication, and cooperation thus inspiring future leaders, inventors, and change makers.

To learn more about the Farmington STEAM Academy, please contact Principal  Dr . Dyanne Sanders at 248.785.2070 or visit our website www.farmington.k12.mi.us.