Our students learn by solving real-life problems through inventiveness, creativity and the integration of science, mathematics, engineering, and technology.
What is iSTEM Education?
I-STEM is an acronym where “i” stands for “integrated” and STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In that sense, iSTEM Education is the integrated or interdisciplinary teaching of those fields that establish connections within units of study, seeking to solve a real-life problem.
How does this become a reality at CIEDI?
At CIEDI, we have established professional learning communities, teams of teachers in preschool, elementary and high school, formed around the study of iSTEM Education.
Preschool and Elementary Inquiry Program
The group directors of the Preschool and Elementary sections have teamed up with the Technology and Design teachers to complete an in-depth review of their Inquiry Program and the sequence of science, technology, and mathematics content, in order to find engineering contexts to encourage the integration of STEM concepts.
Likewise, teachers have proposed new Units of Inquiry within our learning context with engineering challenges, such as the construction of bridges to scale, the design of solar ovens, the design of prosthetics, the construction of a prototype of a Maglev system or magnetic levitation train, and the creation of wind turbines to scale, among other interesting projects..
Units of study and resources
The school has acquired a series of study units and resources designed by the Boston Museum of Science, which are part of the iSTEM programs known as Wee Engineer for preschool, and Engineering is Elementary for elementary school.
High School and the iSTEM Pedagogical Model
In the high school section, training in the iSTEM pedagogical model involves the Engineering Design Process in which students research a problem, identify barriers and specifications, design prototypes, test them, and present their inventions focused on solving problems with the client’s requirements in mind.
Teachers have been studying the Next Generation Science Standards, proposed in the United States, and especially the Framework for K-12 Science Education which outlines new Engineering approaches to the Science curriculum. They are also evaluating the units proposed by the STEM Road Map 2.0 Curriculum Series, a program developed in partnership with researchers from Purdue University and the National Science Teaching Association of the United States.
Alliance with the Colombian School of Engineering
The curriculum revision and training efforts for iSTEM, are complemented by a strategic alliance signed with the Colombian School of Engineering Julio Garavito – ECIJG.
This alliance consists of expanding the interdisciplinary community of practice, initially formed by CIEDI teachers, and now strengthened with the involvement of university engineering professors and students. Working alongside our curriculum planning and design teams they identify possible engineering contexts that can be simulated in the specialized laboratories of this dynamic university.
In 2019, second grade carried out the program´s first project, which consisted of building a bridge to scale that would allow the children of a rural school to cross a mountain.
During the 2021-2022 school year, kindergarten, fourth, sixth, and ninth grades advanced STEM projects with hands-on sessions in the ECIJG University labs.
In kindergarten, students made a shelter for an animal out of recyclable materials. In the labs, they explored the properties of matter and concepts applied in the moment of construction.
Fourth graders created wind-powered vehicles, sixth graders made catapults for seed dispersal, and ninth graders made wind turbines from recyclable materials.