“Now I’m multilingual! I know English, Spanish, and I’m learning computer language.” -B from Ms. Grindle’s STEAM Club
Ms. Grindle (described as a wonderful teacher by her students) decided to put together a STEAM club at Marshdale Elementary for students in 3rd through 5th grade. The goal of the club is to expose students over time to each of the components of STEAM-science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Ms. Grindle decided a STEAM club would be beneficial because it would provide students experiences in elementary school that would prepare them for computer science electives in middle school, and ultimately, a wide array of job opportunities later on.
Upon interviewing the students, it is clear that they love attending this club! They come to the club for optional exploration for a half hour after school, then stay for the STEAM club for 1 hour after that. They don’t mind staying into the evening because it is just that engaging!
What makes the club so engaging is the variety of tasks they get to perform and concepts they get to explore. Students have had experiences such as dissecting cow eyeballs and designing comics using Comic Life 3! They have also designed video games and written code. . Of course, that’s not all, but it gives you a sense of the unique experiences students get to have in this STEAM club.
One recent experience was having students explore batch scripting, which is written code that contains a series of commands that tell a computer operating system what to say and do. (watch this child explain what @echo off is *he is not from Jeffco)
On one particular day, the students had a special guest - a 7th grader! He came to help the students at Marshdale understand how to code using “@echo off”, a command, which prevents commands from the batch file from displaying on the screen. Students loved the experience, and even parents commented on the excitement students had in having a middle school student teach them to script. An example of a student’s @echo off batch script:
Barb Grindle makes this club happen with community supports and support within her school because it’s important to her to provide rich experiences for her learners. She has been invited by InnEdCo, an annual technology conference in Keystone, to present on how she fundraises for the STEAM club. She’s also presented her club at the ISTE conference. Impressive accolades!