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Novelties in the STEAM lab

5 March 2020

IIL has applied the STEAM approach to learning for decades and now our STEAM lab is growing. We asked our teachers Adrian Hirst and Sébastien Grand to tell us more about it.

What does STEAM stand for? 
S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics) activities are those where radical ideas and ground-breaking concepts become prototypes and unique creations. Drawing upon cross-curricular wisdom and grounded strongly in real-world experiential learning, this encourages the development of skills including creative thinking, problem-solving and learner-driven success.

How do we integrate STEAM in learning at IIL?
We teach STEAM skills within the curriculum across the middle school, and also offer lunchtime and after-school activities and freestyle workshops to meet the requirements of all of our students, from primary to final years, allowing them to work on school and personal projects at any time.

What’s new in the STEAM lab?
New this year, and in support of our Eco-STEAM efforts, we have been developing examples of sustainable and organic food production systems, which are adapted to maximising space in restricted areas, such as cities where growing space is limited, and can also scale up to rural deployments. Our worm-composting stations allow for nursery plants to be grown directly in the compost, and for the natural fertiliser to be used to nourish the indoor ‘flowering wall’. Both of these systems also work in harmony with the aquaponics/pisciculture station, where fish provide the nutrients for a separate plant nursery, which in turn filters and cleans the water for the fish. The fish themselves can be harvested as a food resource, and the food for this system comes in the form of fresh worms (!) growing in-house in the worm composting bins.