WEST MILFORD, W.Va. (WBOY) — Throughout this week, West Milford Elementary students got to learn about STEAM in a way that they could relate to, and some parents even got to help out.
‘STEAM’ is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. This program is best described by the state’s board of education as, “the study of science and math with purposeful integration of the arts, technology, and the engineering design process.”
This program was designed to better prepare students with skillsets for the ever-changing economy before they graduate high school as statistics show only 46% of West Virginia public high school graduates enroll in college immediately after graduation.
West Milford Elementary School took the time this week to implement these activities within the classroom, assigning the activity each weekday to a particular grade so that parents may also be involved.
12 News spoke with Camden Cutlip, a special education teacher at West Milford Elementary, on the difference between STEAM and standard learning practices. “Whereas standard learning we might teach a little bit and then do an activity in the group, this, we’re bringing parent in and getting them involved in the school day and having them do hands-on activities with their kids to kind of show them how far their kids have come in a year.”
The students participated in activities that were based on real-life problems yet were still relatable to the age groups. On Thursday, both fourth and fifth-grade students engaged in STEAM where their activities included constructing a stable chair for Goldilocks and building a safe structure to break Humpty Dumpty’s fall using basic craft materials.
“On a personal front in my classroom, I have a bunch of different kids with a bunch of different learning styles. So, for me, some kids, hands-on isn’t their deal but most kids enjoy this kind of activity and when they enjoy it, they learn better,” continued Cutlip.
According to the West Virginia State Board of Education, STEAM packets are being distributed throughout the state in hope that this curriculum will continue to prosper.