Project-based Learning Focusing on STEAM and Entrepreneurship


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Please share a brief background of your innovation.

The goal of STEAM-based learning is to help students develop the skills they need to be successful in the future. Regardless of the specific role or industry, it is now critical that students go off to college and/or enter the workforce with a set of well-rounded skills that allow them to adapt to an evolving and fast-paced environment. On the other hand, business as a subject is provided to students in AHIS from Grade 1. Business studies are more than just mastering the art of doing business. Students will leave with a skill set and the ability to manage their work-life successfully. 

At Al Hekma International School (AHIS), our goal of STEAM education is to foster ingenuity, build resilience, encourage experimentation, nurture teamwork and knowledge application, and motivate creativity and problem-solving among students. This helps them identify themselves as innovators and changemakers that can take active roles in inventing solutions for the problems they careabout. STEAM approaches in AHIS help students learn skills relevant to the 21st century, including innovation and cultural sensitivity. This also better enables teachers to use differentiated instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners.

Along with this, Business Studies helps students understand corporate culture and prepares them for professional environments. Entrepreneurial thinking and acting are seen as 21st-century skills, one of the basic meta-capabilities that the young generation will need to develop to be successful. To become relevant for the future world of challenges, AHIS students learn entrepreneurship skills from an early age.

How was it planned?

A series of programs for Project Based Learning in STEAM and Entrepreneurship has been planned and implemented for the students of AHIS.

STEAM Lessons providestudents with an opportunity to showcase ideas that can solve real-world problems of today. STEAM Fair is a platform for our students to showcase their new ideas and innovations. in front of a real audience. Students designed and came up with real-world application projects such as MedicalVentilators, Sustainable Bahrain,Biodegradable masks, Extending life into outer space, a mask and social-distancing detector. 

STEAM classwork and homework are assigned on a weekly basis at AHIS. Students are awarded extra points upon their completion. The STEAM Winter Challenge atAHIS develops an interest in learning science through creativity and a problem-solving approach. 

The STEAM Reward is for the Student of the Quarter chosen from all the grade levels and is rewarded with a free-choice activity award and certificate. STEAM Labs enhance the scientific inquiry of our students at AHIS. The Virtual STEAM lab for our students proved to be a creative and innovative platform. Through STEAM in Field, our students came up with and implemented many innovative ideas like a Solar Urban design (an area for students to rest in breaks and charge their tablets/devices using alternative energy/solar), school security systems, sustainable light, robotics and coding, Solar powered greenhouse and a Perma-Culture Educational Garden. Recycled materials were used to decorate the garden. Our Permaculture Educational Garden has been shortlisted by the MOE Agriculture Production Exhibition. The STEAM Lounge is a physical space, similar in vibe to a lab or studio, for the committee comprising students and teachers to meet on a weekly basis to plan, discuss and work on STEAM projects.

We engage in two major activities that focus on Project-based Learning through Business and Entrepreneurship. The AHIS Shark Tank (Grades 6, 7, and 8) is based on the popular television show, Shark Tank with top presenters winning certificates and trophies. It provides an opportunity for students to develop and pitch their business idea to a panel of judges. AHIS BYE (Grades 9 to 12) or Bahrain Young Entrepreneurs prepares students for their careers, enhancing practical life skills. BYE aims at providing students the opportunity to collaborate and work with a team, speak in public and prepare an effective presentation, collect and analyze data, use social media as an advocacy tool, solve real, complex problems that don’t have a definitive answer and use curiosity and creativity to find an innovative approach to difficult problems.

Did you face any challenges in implementation?

The lack of experience in facilitating Problem-based Learning to students was one of the challenges we faced while implementing the program. To mitigate this, we provided relevant training to the teachers. As Problem-based learning is mostly done in groups, some students were depending on others within the implementation process. For this, we monitored group work to identify teams that assigned clear positions and tasks to the members. Enabling online attendance of judges across sectors for competitions helped the team overcome the challenge faced when judges were unable to make it in person.

A brief assessment of your results

Students did well with Project-based Learning, especially during the pandemic when the focus of the school was to provide them with an opportunity for deeper learning. Students got the chance to employ different skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication while sharing their final products. Students in general performed well and earned good scores that reflected in their grades. Additionally, students excelled in local and global competitions such as Injaz and STEAMCO.

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

The main lesson learned while implementing these projects was that we can overcome challenges through collaboration. Collaboration between students, collaboration between staff, and collaboration with the community. Another valuable lesson was when we witnessed students’ learning link to real-life problems and global challenges. It made learning more relevant. Finally, finding a solution during the exceptional circumstances that gave equity to all learners regardless of the learning modality they chose through a personalized learning system provided by digital platforms. What could have been done differently during the implementation of these projects would be spending more time on orienting parents on the value of projects in order to further support students at home. This is based on our utmost belief in the essential role of parents in their children’s education and success at school.

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