Students at St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton do science and engineering experiments as part of a STREAM program in March.

STREAM going strong in Diocesan schools

Cape Coral | The Diocese of Venice STREAM educational platform (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, with Religion and Arts) has been growing in Diocesan Catholic Schools in recent years.

The impact of providing students the opportunity to develop key skills in the sciences while staying grounded in their faith is making a positive impact for each student.

St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton has been building their STREAM program through a collaborative partnership with the Orlando Science Center and the Boston Museum of Science, integrating their engineering into the elementary program, explained Principal Deborah Suddarth.

Teachers at St. Joseph have participated in staff development programs that created many engineering, project-based units available for all grade levels.

Students enjoyed exciting learning explorations when the educational outreach team from the Orlando Science Center arrived on campus and set up a mobile planetarium, a life-size Angry Birds physics area, a robotics lab, and their “Kaboom!” show experimenting with chemical reactions. 

During a March evening, parents and students returned to school to share in a STREAM festival with 15 activity stations that were set up by the Orlando Science Center team and supported by teachers, parents, and alumni, serving as volunteers.

Thanks to a generous donor and Title IV funding, engineering program materials have been provided for all grade levels (including preschool) to increase the integration of engineering and project-based learning during the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.

St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral has been at the forefront of integrating a STREAM program into the curriculum. On March 28 the school hosted their annual STREAM night where students and their families visited classrooms throughout the school where a variety of activities were taking place.  

Teachers — aided by the school’s STREAM team members and Bishop Verot Catholic High School students — invited visitors to engage and learn through experimentation and exploratory activities about science, technology, religion, engineering, art and math. 

Activities, designed by the teachers, ranged in interest from pre-k through eighth grade. Some of the activities included painting using dry ice and food coloring, making a building using dried spaghetti and marshmallows, programming a robot to throw a basketball, or using different materials to make a cross. 

The evening’s finale was the annual “Veggie Car Races” where students raced their colorful homemade creations made of fruits and vegetables. The race was divided into three grade-level divisions and went off in pairs down a ramp and onto the floor. 

Many vehicles only made it a short distance, some fell off the ramp and many lost tires along the race course. Each racer was cheered on by their fellow students and family. 

The primary grade division winner was pre-kindergartener, Ava Vu. The elementary grade division winner was fourth-grader, Ricky Magallanes. The middle school division winner was sixth-grader, Nicholas Tiisler. Winners were determined by how far they traveled down the track. Nicholas’ racer was the only car to cross the finish line.

According to research, schools with STREAM-based education are more readily preparing students for the world of the future, where cross-discipline knowledge will be the key to success. This approach is also supportive of all students allowing a variety of interest to be addressed at a pace that guarantees success.