At Aka Aka School we promote child centered learning by utilising the skills and interests of our students as a starting point for learning. We have a strong programme in our Junior school to ensure all of the basic skills and knowledge are developed so students can access the curriculum fully as they progress through the school. This is supported by plenty of opportunities to learn through play and imagination. We supplement robust learning in the core subject areas of literacy and numeracy through STEAM education which allows us to integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Maths in a structured way. Aka Aka school provides technology devices to ensure every child has access to the digital world in age appropriate ways. We encourage shared devices to ensure students continue to develop their communication skills as they learn together. We value our wonderful rural environment as a learning and teaching tool.
Listed below are the core elements of STEAM education;
In this stage of STEAM, teachers and students explore a broad range of topics, ideas or problems in a particular content area of focus. For instance, you may begin by focusing on the Great Depression, processes that artists use, or security concerns at large sporting events. Think widely in this portion of the process, with the understanding that you will narrow into a specific piece of the topic later on. As you choose your topic and begin to move into the discovery phase, think about an essential question you would like to answer.
During the discovery phase, you’ll create a curriculum schema map about the chosen topic, idea or problem. Start by placing the chosen broad focus in the center of a piece of paper and surrounding it with everything that may influence, cause, or result from that particular topic. You’ll begin to see trends, patterns, or areas you would like to explore more deeply.
Once you have created your curricular schema map, choose one or two connected areas to your broad topic. For instance, if my topic was the the Scientific Method, I may choose digital photography and reflection as two areas that I would like to connect and explore in relationship to each other based upon an essential question. From there, a curriculum map can be created that aligns two naturally-connected standards in both content areas (science and visual art), as well as an equitable assessment for both standards being addressed.
Once your standards and assessments are aligned between your chosen content areas, a lesson can now be developed to guide students in their learning about the broader topic through the two chosen standards. This process should be inquiry driven, where students are presented with a problem or question in which they will need to learn and use content knowledge to influence the context of the situation.
Once students have moved through the lesson and completed their project or assignment, they must be able to have time to reflect and critique their own work, as well as that of their peers. This can be done through self-assessments, rubrics, portfolios, artists statements, or peer reviews. Similarly, teachers and administrators must also have time to engage in the reflection process based upon the results of the lesson process and products.