MCAA creates a culture of learning by promoting our vision of being an innovative leader in STEAM education to all stakeholders in our school community.
Narrative: MCAA fosters a culture of STEAM learning by engaging students in inquiry-based learning experiences that allow students to explore real-world problems through our Engineering Design Process (EDP). Our school wide EDP provides a consistent framework for all students to participate in STEAM processes and practices. This common language allows students to apply the principles of the EDP across all content areas, such as math problem solving or the writing process, in addition to being the framework for all STEAM units. Students engage in quarterly STEAM units, exploring a real-world problem that is related to science or social studies concepts. These units were designed to align the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) for science and social studies. Each grade level started by identifying standards that are relevant to problems in the real-world. This began the systematic process of designing a scope and sequence for our STEAM program. The scope and sequence provide a framework for developing units that integrate content standards and STEAM across the subject areas. Teachers have dedicated planning time to collaborate and design units that allow students to explore issues that are relevant to local community and make connections to global implications. Students engage in hands-on learning experiences to explore problems and design solutions. For example, third grade students observed erosion issues on the playground that is caused by heavy rain. Students design possible solutions, talk to experts in the field and connect with community partners to implement a solution. Fifth grade students study the impacts of how displacement from war or natural disaster can result in movement or migration in the form of refugees. Students create kits to provide essential survival items for refugees. Students test their kits for weight, sustainability over long distances, and the ensure that essential items have been accounted for. Each unit makes intentional connections to experts in the field and community partners that provide support to students during the unit. These experts are often featured as guest speakers or partners that provide feedback on student work during the planning or creation phase of the EDP. In the units mentioned above, third grade students consulted with a local landscape design company to learn about potential solutions for erosion and fifth grade students spoke with a resettlement expert from UNICEF to gather research on the resettlement process. These experts and community partners provide an essential connection for students to real-world professionals and careers. In addition to quarterly STEAM units, students also participate in "House" Challenges. Students in our school are placed in 4 different house to reflect the 21st-century skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. In each house students work across all 3 grade levels on a school-wide challenge. These challenges often incorporate problems that directly impact our school community, they allow students to build school culture and collaboration skills and incorporate aspects of social-emotional learning (SEL). On House Challenge days all students and staff engage in the challenge together, strengthening our school-wide commitment to STEAM across all content and for all stakeholders. As a part of our commitment for continuous improvement, we have partnered with the Arts Now Foundation to provide professional development in Arts Integration. Teachers are introducing students to arts integration through structured interdisciplinary lessons. As new STEAM units are written teachers will include opportunities for arts integration to further enhance our STEAM curriculum. There are dedicated Science Labs for each grade level and outdoor learning spaces that include a variety of gardens. The students have an opportunity to learn in these spaces with aligned standards and professionals that have partnered with the school to support the labs.
Standard 1: Learners engage in STEM learning experiences that integrate all STEM disciplines with an emphasis on processes and practices associated with STEM.
Standard 2: Professional staff members implement high-quality STEM courses and curriculum aligned to recognized standards and organized into interdisciplinary frameworks.