Salinas Elementary is going full STEAM ahead. STEAM, in this case, refers to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.
This school year, the campus began its transition into what will now be known as Salinas Elementary S.T.E.A.M. Campus. “We are very excited about the future of Salinas Elementary and Donna ISD,” Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Rashad Rana said. “In addition to providing the best educational experience possible with data driven quality instruction in the classrooms, Salinas joins the first wave of integration of STEAM opportunities in Donna ISD.”
STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. Rana said the concept takes learning to a more advanced level.
“By providing our Salinas Elementary students these STEAM initiatives, we are ensuring that our students develop a passion for areas beyond academics,” Rana said. “We want to develop students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. Our goal is to create innovators, mentors, leaders, and learners of the 21st century.”
The STEAM curriculum runs on a nine-week rotation schedule and is provided to all PreK-4 through fifth grade students. Each of the five STEAM subject areas offer unique and exciting ways to learn in the classroom. For example, children in upper level science classes are making natural products like bath salts and soaps, using herbs from the school’s garden.
Students in the technology classes are discovering how to build and program small robots using Lego Robotic Kits. They are also producing a video that will document Salinas’ first year incorporating the STEAM concept and showcasing it at the end of the year.
Engineering and Mathematics courses are creating projects using a 3D printer. Currently, students are designing signs and logos for Salinasville, the school’s minitropolis program that mirrors a fully functional real-life community where students are in charge.
The arts provide students the opportunity to perform in a musical, act in a play, or participate in baking activities where they make and decorate cakes.
Administrators believe the STEAM curriculum will produce tremendous results. According to research, students will be more engaged in the learning process, improve their classroom behavior, generate higher test scores and be a part of an inclusive learning environment while having fun at the same time.
“Our theme for our first year as a STEAM campus is Community,” Salinas Elementary STEAM Campus Principal San Juanita Franco said. “Our students are getting the opportunity to apply content skills with project based learning and the students love it. We’re looking forward to seeing all the great projects that will be completed at the end of the year.”