Friday, October 9, 2015

A Virtual Tour of 8th Grade STEAM

Mr. Dehetre shared this fascinating look at what goes on in 8th grade STEAM:
 Any visitor to Mr. Dehetre’s 8th grade STEAM class would be impressed with the variety of learning opportunities being offered. Let’s take a virtual look! 
If you were visiting today, you would see several 8th graders working on building a Blinky. What is a Blinky? It’s an electronic kit that students build to learn about basic electronics and soldering. Students are given resistors, capacitors, transistors, light emitting diodes, along with a battery strap and electrical switch. Students solder these parts to a printed circuit board and if done carefully, the Blinky blinks! In the pictures below you will see Michael McNeil carefully soldering a component on to the circuit board. Notice his safety glasses. Safety is very important and observed daily in STEAM. In other pictures you will see David Hattan and Emi Schneider displaying their completed and working Blinkies. Do you know what a capacitor is used for? These students should be able to tell you!
Michael McNeil
Emi Schneider
David Hattan

While some students are studying electronics, others are using the computers for computer programming. The students in STEAM are programming in the Python language. Students follow a teacher made tutorial that explains the code as they program a working number guessing game, a “weather” predictor, an Etch-A-Sketch program, and a calculator. These exercises give students just enough knowledge to do more studying independently if they'd like to. In the picture below you will see Jacob Veilleux studying the code he is writing. He has two windows open on his computer. One is the interactive window for checking small chunks of code while the other window is the scripting window used for holding the code for the program he is going to execute. Jacob has told me that he really enjoys coding and talks with his brother about coding games often. 

Jacob Veilleux

Another opportunity for 8th graders is learning how to illustrate with an application called AutoDesk SketchBook Pro. Students are not expected to be artists though they are encouraged to try out the program and many find that their digital drawing abilities improve more rapidly than expected. In the photo below, Harry Mellor is drawing a hot dog. Prior to this drawing, Harry drew a Minion and a copy of the minion is now displayed on the STEAM bulletin board. 

Harry Mellor

Lastly, students are taught the basics of SketchUp which is a 3D modeling application. Just about anything you can think of can be drawn on SketchUp and reproduced with a 3D printer. In the picture, you will see Abigail Hincks and Liam Sullivan looking at a house floor plan drawn to scale that Abi is working on completing. With SketchUp, students are able to move the model they are drawing so various perspectives of the object can be viewed. 

Abi Hincks and Liam Sullivan

What 8th grade students learn in STEAM is only limited to their imagination. We investigate just about anything that comes along. Learning and discovering is fun and Mr. Dehetre hopes that all his students will always have the desire to learn and discover new things. 

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