The makerspaces at Kiski were designed by the experts at Inventionland Institute. The new freshman course involving science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) in the makerspaces was created by Tracy Haswell, Assistant Headmaster for Academics. Haswell, a former neuroscientist before going into education, designed the S.T.E.A.M. course specifically for freshman boys to keep them engaged and interested while tackling tough subjects.
“They forget they’re learning.”
The science course teaches students valuable skills. “They forget they’re learning,” Haswell said of the boys while they were working on the projects integrated into the curriculum. The S.T.E.A.M. course incorporates all of the steps of the creative and development process. In addition to providing instruction in foundational science such as Newton’s Laws of motion, students can also apply their knowledge directly to projects designed to reinforce the concepts they’re learning.
For example, for their first project, the students assembled air-powered cars. The air-powered cars required hands-on construction and problem solving. The students raced their cars and measured their results to study Newton’s Laws. They recorded two distances, then captured the time it took for each car to travel to those checkpoints. With this data, students were able to calculate speed and acceleration to determine which car traveled the fastest. Haswell noted the excitement of the students as they came in on weekends to continue working on their first projects.
A Blend Of Traditional And Project-Based Learning
This course will teach students foundational science to pass exams while also giving them experience in critical thinking and real-world applications. The tools available to them in the makerspaces help the students learn to use modern technology such as a 3D printer and a laser cutter. “The idea for this course is to set a firm foundation for all the courses that will follow,” Haswell said.
“We’re a great blend of traditional and project-based instruction and it’s grounded in that we keep going back to the principles . . . (which are) integrated in such a way that they can’t help but remember,” Haswell said.
In addition to the base skills, the S.T.E.A.M. course also teaches technological literacy. Students usually learn these skills in a computer class somewhere throughout their high school career. But, at Kiski they not only learn these skills in ninth grade, they also apply them to real world situations with state-of-the-art technology throughout their entire education at Kiski.
The S.T.E.A.M. course is unique to Kiski and incorporates all aspects of the learning process to promote success and give students a solid background in science as they prepare for college. The benefits of project-based learning are endless. If you want to learn more about the Kiski curriculum and makerspaces, feel free to contact us!
1888 Brett Lane, Saltsburg, PA 15681 | (877) 547-5448
Established in 1888, The Kiski School is one of the oldest, independent, all-boys, college preparatory boarding schools in Pennsylvania and the United States. Home to 200 boys, Kiski offers an academically rigorous curriculum that includes Advanced and Honors courses, 12 varsity sports, and a community that allows boys to thrive through project-based learning and self-discovery. Kiski's beautiful, 350-acre campus is located in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania, 30 miles east of Pittsburgh, PA.