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STEAM: Delivering 21st Century Skills

STEAM Many 8th students at Valley Middle School have signed up for Robotics, a class that meets four times a week per quarter. Lego’s EV3 Education was purchased for the 8th grade STEAM. Kits are included for students to create their own robot that they will then control using a specific program on their iPads. Students can control their robots by degree measures through obstacle courses they create. In the true nature of STEAM, accurate data is collected throughout the process that the students can learn from.

Seventh graders have the opportunity to participate in a STEAM 102 class, in which they will create a CO2 Dragster car. This class also meets four times per week for each quarter. Here, teams of students explore the benefits and disadvantages of various materials, tools, and side activities that are necessary to ensure that the vehicles are being built properly. Teams can also design their own wheels to race with using the 3D printer purchased by the Oakland Education Foundation.

Students in 6th grade can choose to take STEAM 101, also meeting four times per week for each quarter. The main objective of the course is to develop skills in problem solving, critical thinking, as well as teamwork and collaboration skills that will prepare students for the more complex projects they’ll encounter in the 7th and 8th grade STEAM. Students will also design and build roller coasters constructed out of foam insulated tubing, take rubber strip, sandpaper and marbles.

Valley Middle School is continuing to focus on delivering 21st skills by offering a new class called Financial Literacy. Students meet all year once a week covering a different topic each quarter. Seventh graders focus on Income & Career, Savings & Investing, Credit & Debt Management, and Real World Applications. Eighth graders focus on Income & Investing, Financial Strategies, Income Protection, and Real World Applications including creating portfolios.