In education, students sometimes get frustrated by pursuing studies that they don’t see as having long-term application in their lives. Thanks to STEM that’s all changing.
At Appleby College, the STEM approach to education fosters creativity and divergent thinking alongside fundamental disciplines. It motivates and inspires students to dream beyond the here and now. To look at everyday activities and imagine ‘what if’. Relying on inquiry-based learning STEM education gives students an understanding of concepts and encourages knowledge application. Students are free to exercise what they learn and embrace mistakes in a risk-free environment. Project-based learning and problem-solving help learners to form a special mindset that encourages flexibility and curiosity to ideate solutions to real-world challenges. STEM education prepares the world for the future.
A unique space to ideate
“We are preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist,” shared Sarah Morrison, Assistant Head of School, Academics. “It’s important to empower students with tools and learning that instill strong fundamentals and that equip them with the ability to problem-solve, develop ideas, to experiment and create through iteration and trial-and-error.”
Having a dedicated space for access to advanced technology and a place where students feel empowered to engage in high-level problem-solving is critical for student development in the 21st century. Imagine a physical space where students come together to collaborate, design, explore, experiment, and test their ideas. A technology playground of sorts. A place where ideas can come to life. Since 2016 Appleby students have enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to combine their knowledge of science, mathematics and structural with imagination, creativity and artistry to explore solutions to everyday problems that challenge people to think differently – all in the school’s state-of-the-art Design Lab.
“I draw inspiration from my daily life and how I would want the objects I use on a regular basis be improved,” says Rachael Friedman, grade 12 student. “I love the creative process of taking an idea, sketching it out and then making it into an actual product using technology such as the lab’s 3D printer.”
More than a physical space
Through the ‘making’ component of STEM studies, the tools and resources made available enable students to develop their ideas and apply them as workable designs while collaborating with one another, drawing inspiration and learning from one another. While students new to STEM may at first feel intimidated working with tools such as laser cutters and 3D printers as well as design and modeling programs they haven’t used before – that feeling quickly disappears as they experiment, test, fail and then succeed all while growing in capability and confidence level.
Since the school’s founding in 1911, Appleby’s mission has been, to educate and enable our students to become leaders of character, major contributors to, and valued representatives of their local, national and international communities. Through STEM learning, students are acquiring the skills and knowledge to be future problem-solvers and leaders of industry.