CUERO – Lisa Wright’s lab was buzzing Friday morning as students discussed how to create a small tower out of Legos.
The assignment for the fifth-grade class was to build a tower that could hold and balance a tennis ball, and whichever group completed the task with a time limit would wins.
Only the students were not given instructions on how to build the tower. Instead, the students had to collaborate and create towers on their own.
“It’s OK if we don’t win as long as we build this as a team,” said Selena Hernandez, 10.
The assignment is one of many hands-on projects students at Hunt Elementary School will work on through the new STREAM class. STREAM, which stands for science, technology, reading, engineering, arts and mathematics, is another approach for students to learn about the subjects.
Through the class, students will be able to dive deeper into the subjects outside their primary class with projects that require more collaboration and critical and creative thinking. The lab is new to Hunt Elementary this year.
Lisa Wright, who has been a science teacher for 28 years, calls the STREAM class “true 21st-century learning” where problem-solving and creativity are embedded into traditional curriculum.
The class serves as an extension to what students are learning in their primary classes. Each STREAM class is 45 minutes long, and students attend the class once a week in rotation with music and gym.
“I truly think this is the future of learning,” Wright said. “The students will be able to touch on not just technology and engineering but how to work in groups because teamwork is so important in the workforce.”
Assignments, such as the towers made of Legos, help students be creative in problem-solving, Wright said. While each group’s tower looked different, all the students succeeded in their tasks.
One group built a tower about a foot high that had branches of Legos sticking out on each side to help balance the tennis ball on top. Christopher Zapata, 10, said the group he was in went through trial and error before they were successful.
“We found out that we can’t just build the tower straight up. We needed to make it stronger and more supportive,” Zapata said. “I like the class. We also learn that in science, you test a claim to see if the claim is true.”
Shiarri Galindo said she enjoys having a STREAM class. Her favorite part about the class so far is building with Legos, she said.
“We’ve learned that we need technology and engineering to build everything we need, and we’re going to learn even more,” Shiarri, 10, said. “I’m loving it all.”