A Strong STEM/STEAM School
TCIS approaches education striving to cultivate adaptable learners with the skills to be future-ready according to a broad scope of professions and cultures. We believe that a comprehensive STEAM approach serves all learners well at a foundational level, and advanced STEM+Arts studies serve the goals of many of our students in their future careers.
STEM, STEAM, and the TCIS Approach
The term STEM is not a new one, and it is an educational idea that is generally understood around the world. STEM is an approach to education that places emphasis on areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. This approach creates a body of learners prepared to pursue areas of higher level sciences and engineering careers.
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. It approaches the study of analytical sciences and engineering disciplines with a further emphasis on the Arts as a means of better teaching sciences to all types of learners and as a means of giving science-minded students essential skills not inherent in the study of pure science. Visual arts, media arts, performing arts, and communications are all integral parts of the TCIS STEAM program, and project-based learning stress processes for design and generative creativity.
While preparation in STEM areas create learners with the knowledge and experiences to excel in STEM studies in university, the additional experiences associated with an integrated arts approach (STEAM education) also prepare students to develop essential soft skills for success. In addition to analytical sciences, students gain experience with presentation, communication, and holistic creativity, which better prepares them for innovation, management, design, and the leadership of diverse peoples.
Our aim through STEAM is not that students would just DO, but that they will INNOVATE and LEAD in areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
An Emphasis on Design Cycle
For all students throughout the school, there is a strong focus on the Design Cycle as a universal process. Students of all ages learn strategies and practice how to:
- define problems well,
- research information,
- analyze ideas and approaches,
- develop and implement solutions,
- gather and reflect on feedback,
- and make adjustments to improve the design
The Design Process becomes becomes ingrained in children over the course of years, and they become adaptable and more competent learners in all areas.
Grades K-5 STEAM Learning
STEAM learning in our elementary school fits naturally with the normal inquiry and discovery tendencies among children this age. As students learn to question and experience new things, they begin to learn and practice methods for the Scientific Method, the Creative Design Cycle, and basic Analytical Thinking. STEM units are integrated into homeroom learning, and the arts are intentionally combined to help deliver STEM learning in fun and creative ways.
In addition, students are given opportunities, in class and through after-school activities, to engage in introductory experiences with block coding, robotics, and logic-building puzzles.
Grades 6-10 STEM+Arts Learning
STEAM learning in middle school continues with an integrated experience of STEM and Arts in all subject areas.
All students gain a holistic understanding of skills that will be useful for professionals in the future, across a wide range of careers and industries.
Starting from Grade 6, students begin to focus on STEM disciplines as individual units and classes for learning. Students learn software, tools, and industry best practices for computer science, robotics, materials and fabrication, graphic and 3d design, media and performing arts, as well as digital and traditional visual arts.
Grades 11-12 STEM/Arts Learning
By Grade 11, students have a comprehensive understanding of multiple disciplines in biological and physical sciences, computer science, robotics, graphic and 3d design, fabrication, digital and media arts, and traditional visual and performing arts. As students enter the DP program, they go still deeper in their learning. Students make course decisions for specializing in their studies.
Students wanting to specialize in STEM disciplines may take a Double Analytical Sciences route or they can choose DP Design and begin work on a capstone project. Art students may enter the DP Art program and pursue focused study and work toward the creation of a high-quality art portfolio.