The Creative Design (STEAM) block is a designated weekly period for hands-on lessons in the Fourth and Fifth Grades. Students engage in various problem-solving activities while applying their core knowledge of math, science, technology, and art. Fourth and Fifth Graders are asked to use the design process model as well as their inquiry-based skills to complete their engineering challenges. These lessons teach the students how to formulate questions, work effectively in a team, create a plausible solution, and alter an “unsuccessful” design. The projects in this block are focused on an essential question or tied to a curricular area. Students are encouraged to seek out the answers through hands-on experimentation, research, and collaboration.
The Creative Design block reflects the school’s commitment to teach students 21st century skills. They learn how to collaborate and communicate with one another in a respectful and effective way. They also learn to think critically and creatively when designing their projects. The design process model redefines the construct of failure or setbacks. The students are taught that setbacks are not an end but a step in an on-going process. There is no right or wrong answer. If a prototype is tested and does not reach the targeted goal, students then go back to the drawing board to revise their project during their plussing session. Creative Design allows every student to be successful and engage in problem-solving activities in a thoughtful way. Design thinking and inquiry-based learning allows teachers and students to pursue projects that are thoughtful and reflect a deeper understanding of the content.