STEAM by Design


This concentration will reinforce and build on computational thinking, problem-solving, and beginning programming concepts as introduced in the Computer Science Exploration. Students will use the design-thinking process to create their projects. While each student will have agency in designing their project, the common theme will be proposals that address the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Students will have access to 3D creation and printing tools, physical computing materials, desktop computers, virtual reality creation tools and hardware, a variety of programming platforms, drones, robots and other programmable tools. There will be no assigned work outside of class. Students are encouraged to continue working on any project they are developing on their own time.

Using the tools available to them, learners will tackle problems that may not have solutions or have multiple types of solutions. They will use the most current research and practices to apply their knowledge and improve their projects. 

STEAM by Design is unlike any class students have been a part of to date. In many ways, it is not simply a class but a learner-directed learning opportunity based in science, technology, electronics, art and math. Students will be best positioned to succeed if they demonstrate the following qualities and interests:

  • Honesty, trustworthiness, responsibility, and self-motivation
  • Strong collaboration skills to support each other’s learning
  • Interest in coding, design, electronics, engineering, art, or robotics
  • Skill in finding authentic problems
  • Resilience in the face of potential failure

Areas Explored in STEAM by Design

  1. Design Thinking and Student Agency. We start the year delving into Design Thinking using Extraordinaire Kits and watching a video on Divergent and Convergent Thinking by Sir Ken Robinson and John Spencer. We watch these two videos to shake up what school and learning are or could be for students. The Most Likely to Succeed trailer and What is School For? by Prince Ea.
  2. 3D Design and Printing will involve using Tinkercad to effectively create projects that successfully print on the Sindoh 3DWox printers. Students can progress to using OnShape CAD software as determined by their project needs.
  3. Coding will involve using CodeMonkey Banana Tales using Durham Academy’s subscription. For Creative Coding, we will use the Open Source platform P5.js as it works well in Chrome on the iPad and is Accessible and Inclusive. 
  4. Physical Computing with Birdbrain Hummingbird Micro:bit Programmable Kits.
  5. Virtual and Augmented Reality uses Merge Headsets, Merge Cubes, iPod Touches and
  6. Drones will use both the Parrot Education and Tello Drones and Robots using Lego Spike Prime or Lego Mindstorms EV3 kits.
  7. Sustainable Development Goal or other Challenge as a culminating activity.