At the start of the year, Infinite Energy gave more than $47,000 in education grants to eight Georgia schools. One of those schools was Gwin Oaks Elementary, with a grant of about $2,300.
The money is part of our commitment to childhood education in the communities we serve. It paid for materials for a Gwin Oaks project called “Think It, Plan It, Build It.”
We caught up with Gwin Oaks science teacher Jan B. this week to find out more about the project.
“The students are so excited to have these materials. And they are very engaged,” Jan said.
The project focuses on skills in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM). Jan said students are using Tinkertoys and K’NEX building kits to get hands-on lessons in engineering and design. After each lesson, they’re asked to explain their solutions and thought processes. There are about 1,000 students from different grades who will take part in the project throughout the year.
“The STEAM curriculum is important because it focuses on open-ended questions,” she said. “It increases engagement and results in deeper learning. It emphasizes student independence and inquiry. And it can be more meaningful than traditional lessons.”
More and more, schools have been pushing to strengthen STEAM education. Jan said her goal is to create lessons from the project that other teachers can use in the near future.
“This education grant is giving us a new way to teach the engineering and design process,” she said. “I’ve been given an opportunity to allow students to have experiences beyond reading, watching videos or using devices. By working in groups, they’ll engage in team building. They’ll learn how to compromise and how to solve problems.”