STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.
In schools, STEAM is an educational approach where these five subjects act as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process.
Why is STEAM education important?
Students who have STEAM programs in school often go on to have successful careers in today’s top industries – they are the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century! The Carlsbad public school system is committed to STEAM education. With help from the Carlsbad Educational Foundation (CEF), Carlsbad students receive STEAM programs from kindergarten through graduation.
The STEAM Programs YOU Make Happen:
Second Grade Robotics
The FIRST LEGO League Jr. robotics curriculum is taught in class to all 850 second-grade students. Before age 8, students are introduced to the foundations of engineering, coding, and robotics. In addition, students learn how to follow directions, better communicate and collaborate with others. The program includes an educational field trip to LEGOLAND where students see what they’ve learned in practice and a showcase to share their projects with fellow students, family members and the school community.
Elementary Science Lab Teachers and Supplies
Access to hands-on science instruction at an early age better prepares students for college or the workforce, where leading industries demand a high-level understanding of science and math. Because CUSD receives less state funding than other San Diego County districts, funding for elementary science is a lower priority. CEF supplements state funding (including staff, materials and professional development) by providing each elementary school with trained credentialed teachers to teach bi-weekly science labs to all 1700 fourth and fifth-grade students.
3rd Grade Environmental Stewardship Programs
The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation’s Third Grade Academy for Environmental Stewardship provides students with a deeper understanding about the environment and conservation. All 850 CUSD third graders have three onsite visits to the Agua Hedionda Lagoon and receive hands-on instruction about how to be a responsible steward to our environment. The program also creates awareness of the environmental impact of day-to-day activities they reflect upon in their own lives.
Science Days for all Elementary and Middle Schools
Science Days expose more than 8,000 elementary and middle school students to science in ways that are not possible in the classroom. Students engage in hands-on science experiences with STEM professionals who teach how science is a part of every aspect of the world around them. Science Days is a full-day onsite program dedicated to bringing awareness to STEM studies and its application outside the classroom.
Science Lab Supercharge
Research continues to support hands-on learning as the most effective way to teach complex STEM concepts.
Science teachers receive just $600 per school and $0.69 per student from CUSD for labs. This budget is woefully inadequate. CEF is tackling this challenge head-on through the Science Lab Supercharge program enhancing the district-wide budget to $1500 per school and $10 per student.
This funding is for critical resources (including lab consumables, equipment, equipment calibration/repairs and presenters) and access to high quality science lab experiences for all 2,800 middle school students (including over 580 underserved students).
This expanded budget can help continue to instill and empower an innovator's mindset in our teachers and provide the best experience for our students. Due to the success of this program, expansion to our CUSD high schools has been requested as funding allows.
FIRST Robotics for Elementary through High School
From designing to building to programming, CEF’s robotics teams continue to grow – nearly 500 students from elementary through high school compete and cooperate in alliances and tournaments at all levels.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League Robotics is a national robotics program designed for students, grades 3-8, to develop critical STEM and life skills. Teams of 6-8 students are responsible for designing, building, and programming robots based on sound engineering principles to compete in an alliance format against other teams.
In the FIRST LEGO League Robotics (FLL) Program, students get to:
• Design, build, and program robots;
• Learn from professional engineering mentors;
• Use sophisticated software, hardware and power tools;
• Apply math and science concepts to solve real-world problems;
• Develop problem-solving, organizational, and team-building skills; and
• Compete and cooperate in alliances and tournaments.
FIRST Awards are given for the competition as well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.
FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format. Teams of up to 15 team members from grades 9-12 are eligible to participate.
Guided by adult coaches and mentors, students continue to develop their STEM skills and practice engineering principles, while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and working as a team. Additionally, students manage robot construction, fundraising, event marketing, and community outreach.
The robot kit is coded annually using a variety of levels of Java-based programming. Each season concludes with regional championship events and an exciting FIRST Championship.
High School Science Lab Teaching Assistants
Providing experienced science lab teaching assistants to assist with departmental lab inventory, set-up, conducting in-class experiments, and tear-down ensuring all 3,800 high school students are provided exceptional hands-on science labs as part of their science curriculum.
The Arts: Elementary Music
Music classes for every CUSD elementary student remain the largest investment CEF makes each year, this year investing over $350,000 because of the steadfast belief that music education is critical to a well-rounded elementary education.
The Elementary Music Program, impacting approximately 5,000 students includes 45 minutes a week of instructional time with students in grades K-5, preparation time for music teachers to prepare for their classes, instruments, and instrument repair.
The program introduces students to reading music and playing instruments collaboratively, while exposing them to new cultures and musical styles. Research continues to bolster the profound impact music education can have on overall student achievement – especially in other academic areas, including math, reading, and language development. The Elementary Music Program has dedicated and experienced educators with a commitment to excellence ensuring students have the critical exposure to music practice at a young age.
CEF continues their support of Music in our schools by funding several other Music programs throughout middle and high school in CUSD.
Viasat Builds the Next Generation of Scientists, Engineers, and Leaders!
Viasat has partnered with CEF for more than ten years to provide the opportunity for nearly 250 students to explore the sciences through Science Olympiad, a full-year STEAM program that requires preparation, commitment, coaching, and teamwork. Science Olympiad competitions are like academic track meets, consisting of a series of 23 team events in each division (Division B is middle school; Division C is high school).
Each year, a portion of the events are rotated to reflect the ever-changing nature of genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering and technology. By combining events from all disciplines, Science Olympiad encourages a wide cross-section of students to get involved. Emphasis is placed on active, hands-on group participation. Science Olympiad requires preparation, commitment, coaching and teamwork, all life skills students carry forward into their future endeavors.
"The program opened my eyes to the professional world of STEAM where I found my true passion in engineering" - Chris Suzuki, Sage Creek High School