One recent chilly Friday evening found students from Coleman Middle School and Duluth Middle School turning up the STEAM for the Duluth community during a city-sponsored event, Fridays-N-Duluth. At the Oct. 21 event, the students shared the wonders of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) with visitors of all ages.
The students showcased their Project-Based Learning (PBL) projects, each project aligning with grade-specific curriculum that students explored in the first nine weeks of the school year. The projects had science and mathematics at their heart, with humanities and arts woven into each unit. The units of study reflected real-world applications and required inquiry-based investigation and an integrated approach between the various content areas. This hands-on method of learning ensured a high level of student engagement, resulting in mastery of the targeted Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum for the students in grades 6–8.
That mastery was evident in the enthusiasm displayed by the students as they presented their work to hundreds of community members who visited the project showcase where they saw:
- Tiny home models that use renewable and non-renewable resources to conserve energy;
- Proposals on how local government can create a more sustainable community by reducing human impact on the environment;
- A mock crime scene in which students investigated evidence using laboratory skills in science and analysis in math;
- A “Booty” boat challenge;
- Innovation in soft drink development; and
- A demonstration of sound wave analysis.