Best Use of Steam Learning in the Classroom: Al Hekma International School


Education_BH: Innovation and Excellence celebrates the remarkable innovations implemented in Bahrain’s schools and universities. We learned about these innovations, the process, the challenges, and the lessons learned from some of the leading educational institutions in the Kingdom. Read more in our latest issue.

At Al Hekma International School Bahrain (AHIS), we are proud to have achieved the Cognia STEM certification. This certification is a testament to our dedication to providing high-quality STEM education and highlights our commitment to implementing effective teaching practices, fostering innovation, and promoting student engagement in STEM disciplines.

Our approach to STEAM education at AHIS goes beyond teaching students technical skills. We prioritise cultivating a mindset of ingenuity, resilience, experimentation, teamwork, and the practical application of knowledge. Through this approach, we empower students to see themselves as innovators and change-makers who can actively contribute to finding solutions for the challenges they care about.

How was the innovation planned?

Our school’s STEM origin story began 11 years ago. Back in 2012, our school administrator and passionate educators came together with the vision of creating a school where all students could thrive in STEM fields. They saw that the world was changing rapidly and that STEM skills would be essential for success in the future.

Since then, we have made many improvements and upgraded to STEAM. This means that we have integrated the arts into our STEM curriculum, which helps students to develop their creativity and problem-solving skills. We have also increased our focus on hands-on learning and project-based learning. Our school’s STEM origin story is one of innovation, inclusivity, and excellence. We are committed to providing all students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the STEM fields of the future.

Some specific examples of the improvements we have made to our STEM program include developing new STEM courses that integrate the arts, such as computer animation and engineering design. We have purchased new equipment and materials for our STEM classrooms, such as robotics kits and STEM kits. We have trained our teachers on how to teach STEM effectively, including how to integrate the arts and how to use hands-on and project-based learning activities. We have partnered with local businesses and organisations to provide students with opportunities to learn about STEM outside the classroom. We are committed to providing our students with the best possible STEM education. We believe that STEM is essential for all students, regardless of their future career plans. We are confident that our STEM program will help our students develop the skills they need to succeed in the 21st-century workforce.

Our institution’s STEM brand or core identity is that we are a school that is committed to providing all students with the opportunity to succeed in STEM. We believe that STEM is essential for all students, regardless of their background or future career plans. We offer a rigorous and challenging STEM curriculum that is aligned with the Cognia STEM Certification Standards and Key Characteristics. We also provide students with opportunities to participate in STEM extracurricular activities and to conduct independent research.

We incorporate these values into our STEM program by offering a variety of STEM clubs, extracurricular activities, and electives, such as robotics and engineering. These activities give students the opportunity to work together on projects and solve problems. We participate in STEM competitions, such as StemCo and STEM Olympiad. These competitions allow students to showcase their skills and learn from other students. We invite STEM professionals to speak to our students about their careers. This helps students to learn about different STEM careers and to see role models who look like them. We believe that these values are essential for success in STEM and life. We are committed to providing our students with the opportunities and support they need to develop these values.

What were the challenges faced during implementation?

The lack of resources for teachers’ professional development, especially when we first started implementing STEAM was a particular challenge we’ve had to navigate.

Give us a brief assessment of your results.

At AHIS, our vibrant STEM culture fosters curiosity and innovation. Classrooms transform into dynamic laboratories, adorned with scientific theories and interactive technology. Passionate teachers act as facilitators, promoting critical thinking and inclusivity. Collaboration is key, with well-equipped labs encouraging teamwork and real-world problem-solving. Emphasis on creativity allows students the freedom to explore, fostering a sense of ownership and pride. Beyond the classroom, engagement with the STEM community through field trips and competitions broadens perspectives.

Our school’s leadership is instrumental in cultivating an innovative STEM culture. Clear goals and regular feedback drive progress, emphasising hard work, perseverance, and collaboration. Leaders actively monitor and improve the program, providing professional development for teachers and creating partnerships for real-world experiences. While the commitment to STEM is evident, there is room for improvement, particularly in investing in STEM leadership and instructional best practices for teachers.

In conclusion, AHIS demonstrates strengths in promoting STEM education, providing resources, and fostering a supportive environment. The commitment to integration and facilities contributes to a rich learning experience, but focusing on professional development can further enhance STEM impact, empowering students to be future leaders and innovators.

In hindsight, what were the most valuable lessons learned while implementing the innovation? Could things have been done differently?

Through STEAM, we emphasise the interconnectedness of different disciplines. Our teaching team and administrators learned the value of integrating science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics to provide a holistic and well-rounded education. The importance of hands-on, experiential learning became evident. Students grasped concepts more deeply when they applied them in real-world, practical situations. STEAM education fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills. We discovered that encouraging students to explore solutions independently enhanced their ability to tackle complex challenges.

Through STEAM, we have learned the importance of teamwork and communication skills among students, preparing them for future collaborative work environments. Through hands-on projects and experimentation, students learned that failure is a part of the learning process and that we learn from making mistakes.

STEAM emphasises the application of knowledge in real-world contexts. Schools find that relating lessons to practical, everyday situations enhances student engagement and understanding. We learned the importance of using technology in the classrooms as it facilitates, learning, engagement and collaboration

STEAM prepares students for careers that are highly needed currently and in the future. We also learned to establish partnerships in the community such as Injaz, Unido, Banagas, Polytechnic University, and more to learn from their expertise. Implementing STEAM enabled the school to provide an inclusive and diverse learning environment. STEAM education was provided to students with different backgrounds and abilities.

We have learned that we need to continuously revise our STEAM curriculum and practices to stay up to date with the most updated practices out there.

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