Dr. David Ryan, Superintendent
30 Linden Street
Exeter, NH 03833
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Swasey Central School Launches STEAM Design Lab
BRENTWOOD — Students at the Swasey Central School are delving into a new hands-on approach to learning through the STEAM Design Lab.
Overseen by teacher Lisa Brown, the space that once housed the school’s computer lab now serves as an ever changing mobile work area focused on developing students’ skills in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM).
“What Ms. Brown is leading in Swasey’s STEAM classroom is a wonderful example of our SAU-wide student-driven model of learning and perfectly punctuates the school’s efforts in advancing project-based learning and inquiry in all grade levels,” Superintendent David Ryan said. “We are excited by the accelerated progress of discovery in her classroom and her students are modeling learning behaviors that we hope to have adopted in all of our schools.”
The STEAM Design Lab adheres to the Next Generation Science Standards and New Hampshire’s Computer Science Standards. It encourages students to think like an engineer, incorporating hands-on learning as well as the integration of Chromebooks, iPads and robots for creative and collaborative work. Pre-school students visit the lab once a month, with children in kindergarten through fifth grade attending class there every week.
“This is a great new space for student learning. Each class is a unique experience with different challenges,” Brown said. “Students never really know what they’re going to be working on when they arrive, so excitement builds week to week. My goal is to develop their ability to work with others cooperatively while sharing their ideas, designing, redesigning and ultimately reflecting on their collaborative learning.”
Each lesson in the lab ties into what students are learning about in the classroom. Recently, the school librarian Emily Oxnard read “Margaret and the Moon” by Dean Robbins to all grades. Students then moved to the STEAM Lab to put their engineering skills to the test by building a lunar module with a shock absorber and later visited the Skydome, a mobile planetarium constructed in the gym, to learn about the moon and constellations.
“What’s great about the STEAM Lab it that is can seamlessly integrate into every sector of the school,” Principal Ron Kew said. “Under Lisa’s guidance, students can take what they’ve learned throughout a unit of study and expand their critical thinking and problem solving skills in a new way.”
Students also get a head start into robotics and coding currucula, from the early building blocks to eventually programming a fully functional robot. Brown will also make trips to kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms to integrate technology within the curriculum, especially for grades four and five, where students are assigned their own Chromebooks.