Pridwin Preparatory School turns STEM into STEAM

We acknowledge that we live in a technology- and media-immersed world with access to an abundance of information, rapid changes in technological tools, and the ability to collaborate and make individual contributions to society.

As such, we strive to continuously incorporate the latest developments and innovations in technology and education into our curriculum. To this end, Pridwin Preparatory School in Melrose, Johannesburg, is one of the first preparatory schools in South Africa to introduce a combination of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) as a subject in our academic programme from Grade 4 through to Grade 7.
STEAM is more than a list of subjects, but is rather a cross- disciplinary, integrated approach to learning that brings the creativity of art to the logic of mathematics, science and technology. Our boys use the Design Process1 in all their projects from engineering to coding.

A forward-thinking curriculum and modern facilities

Our STEAM curriculum incorporates elements of design thinking using a Project-Based Learning (PBL) approach to lesson delivery. PBL moves way from traditional teaching to a more hands-on, learning-by-doing methodology. It empowers students to master the skills they need through a process of inquiry, collaboration, critical thinking and problem-solving. This develops their social skills, communication, collaboration and perseverance, whilst cultivating technological literacy and scientific competence.
STEAM includes exciting modules such as coding, robotics and engineering and provides an opportunity for the boys to extend, apply, and integrate their learning in other subjects through cross-disciplinary PBL modules. For example, boys build self-propelled boats during the section on energy in Grade 4, code Spheros to explore the water cycle, and use Lego Mindstorms to build robots that solve real-world problems.
Our state-of-the-art STEAM laboratory boasts a fully- equipped MakerSpace with a 3D printer, Spheros, Lego Mindstorms, micro:bits,2 Raspberry Pis,3 a dedicated bank of iPads and touch-screen laptops with styluses to enhance digital creativity. Boys are taught to code by design and Microsoft Office is used to distribute notes and assignments, which are completed and assessed online.

Pridwin on the right road

Pridwin’s information technology (IT) vision is “to use technology to enhance the teaching experience, using relevant and age appropriate strategies to develop confident and creative students who can communicate effectively”. Our focus on PBL and STEAM is facilitated by the integration of technology into the classroom. In addition to the STEAM laboratory, Pridwin also has a separate computer laboratory, and teaching venues equipped with Wi-Fi, interactive white boards and Apple TVs. Every Grade has an allocated bank of iPads that are tailored to the needs of the Grade. From Grade 5, boys bring their own iPads to school to enhance curriculum delivery, and boys in Grades 5-7 each have a Microsoft account with a school e-mail address.

Demi-Rae Le Roux is the marketing manager at Pridwin Preparatory School.

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Category: Winter 2019

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