The students at Shepard Elementary are more than just by-the-book learners, because of that we are expanding our classrooms beyond just text. We are in the process of creating a STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, and Math) Lab in our library. In the STREAM Lab, students will be able to dive into their lessons and bring education to life! Working together with teachers, we target subjects that will become more meaningful through STREAM activities. Pencil and worksheets are being replaced by model bridges that students design and build, a light bulb that they power with static electricity, and a musical instrument they create and play. These are just some examples of activities that we have had in the STREAM Lab since it opened in the fall. In addition to the activities that support the district’s curriculum, we would like to introduce more technology to Shepard students. We view computers, wires, and coding as tools and materials that can be used to build, just as hammer, wood, and nails are. When we better equip students to create technologically, we are creating tomorrow's innovators and inventors. This December we participated in the international movement Hour of Code, where all of our students had dedicated time to learn about coding. Students as young as kindergarten came to the STREAM Lab and explored the process behind how to program through interactive games. These seemingly just-for-fun games were actually laying the groundworks for understanding how to script in Java. In the STREAM Lab, we strongly believe that in order to learn something, including programming, you must do something. When we allow students the opportunity to see programming as more than just lines of letters and parentheses, they will understand that programming is engaging and infinite in possibilities for them.
Funded by Plano, TX (May 2016)