RUSSELL, Ky. (WOWK) – Amanda Cole is the STEAM teacher at Russell Primary. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.
Cole asks her students if they liked an activity with robots they just did and she was met with cheers. The education students at Russell are getting looks at bit like something out of the future.
There’s a virtual topographic map, a small, tabletop pumpkin patch, and classical music playing. It’s an immersive experience for these kindergartners, first graders, and second graders. Cole says she’s teaching them the skills they’ll need going into the workforce.
Critical-thinking, team-building, and creativity are all being taught to get students ready for careers like an astronaut, an engineer, a doctor, even a meteorologist.
“It’s also learning the thought process for engineering,” Cole said. “How you plan, you build, you test, and if that doesn’t work, then you troubleshoot, problem-solve, and you find a way to make it work.”
Cole says including the arts with science and technology completes a necessary education picture for students.
“We’ve got things like the wall behind me where they can create,” Cole said. “These are animals that they’ve created, first graders are learning about different habitats.”
The STEAM classroom is such a powerful force of technology there are background programs running on the computers these students are using by cancer research teams at the University of Louisville.
Brian Gupton is the CEO of Dataseam. His company provides the computers for the STEAM class.
“Cancer research that’s going on just borrows the spare computing capacity of the workstation,” Gupton said. “Unused horse-power, if you will.”
Gupton says both schools win. Russell Primary gets new technology and the University of Louisville gets super computing power.
This will be the first class in the Russell School District to have STEAM classes from Kindergarten all the way through 12th grade.
The design for the classroom was inspired by Disney animator Mary Blair who’s know for her work on movies like “Peter Pan,” “Cinderella,” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Mary Blair was on of the earliest pioneers of STEAM.