Tenie Holmes' Mandi Ressman tells us all about STEAM

Posted by Mandi Ressman on 9/17/2021 12:35:00 PM

Some of you may be wondering, “What is STEAM?” As the STEAM teacher at Tenie Holmes Elementary, I get that question all the time. STEAM is an educational approach that connects Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. Some may still refer to this as STEM but we add the A to integrate even more!

STEAM integrates these core disciplines that encourage students to solve problems, be creative, think with their hands and work together. STEAM also encourages kids to experiment, make mistakes and learn from their own experiences to reach correct outcomes through the engineering design process. This process includes the following steps: defining the problem, brainstorming solutions, designing and building, testing, and improving. 


So now you may be wondering, “Why is STEAM important to my student?"  According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 24%, while other occupations are growing at only 4%. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 75% of fast-growing occupations require STEM skills. For our students to prosper and grow, we need to embrace this change and equip them with the correct knowledge and skills -- the kind that STEM education can provide. Bay City ISD has done just that by adding STEAM programs for kids starting in first grade and continuing throughout their high school years. 


Now that I have told you what STEAM is and why it is important, let’s get to the fun part: “What does my student do in STEAM class?” At Tenie Holmes, each student comes to STEAM once or twice a week. Yes, that means I teach all students in grades 3-5. How awesome is that?!

This year STEAM is located right in the heart of our school. During the day our school is now filled with the chitter chatter of students collaborating, building, exploring and most importantly having fun! Throughout the year, students will be challenged to build and design different projects using a variety of materials such as paper, string, toothpicks, food items and other household items that get them thinking. Students have already enjoyed being challenged to build the tallest freestanding tower using only twelve pieces of paper and two feet of masking tape and creating the tallest freestanding tower using only marshmallows and toothpicks. While completing these challenges, students are not only having fun but also learning to communicate, think outside of the box and listen to others ideas. 


I truly feel that STEAM promotes our district’s call to action: “All BCISD Learners are equipped to pursue their limitless futures in an ever-changing, global society."