All Aboard the STEAM Train!

Students who can think critically are able to solve problems effectively and will be more successful adults and employees in their future workplaces.

Holly Land, fourth grade science and social studies teacher at South Bosque Elementary School, implemented Destination Imagination to help students develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills. Destination Imagination is an after-school club where teams of students compete in creative problem solving challenges. Students incorporate skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, Fine Arts, and Math (S.T.E.A.M.), as well as community service, to build and perform their solution to a problem.

“It’s fun to use our imagination and perform the skits we make,” said one fourth grade student on the team.

In February, students went to a Destination Imagination competition where they created a skit to solve a global issue. At the competition the judges were looking for how well the skit was executed as a team and how well the story line was developed.

“Our skit is about two scientists coming together to fight breast cancer,” said one team of fourth grade students.

Students are responsible to create every aspect of this skit without any assistance from their team manager, a teacher at South Bosque Elementary School. This includes, writing the script, painting the backdrop, making costumes, assigning roles and acting.

“The students love that they have a time and place where they are able to work completely independently. Because adults are not allowed to interfere, every solution is solved on their own,” Land said, “D.I. gives students the opportunity to take ownership and know that they can rise to the task.”

Even when a problem arises, the team managers are only supposed to listen as students work through the problem and find a solution as a team.  In most cases, students come up with solutions that the team managers would have never thought to use to solve the problem at hand.

“Our backdrop kept falling down and it was a problem. We were able to fix it so we learned to solve problems when things don’t go the way we plan,” said a fourth grader at South Bosque Elementary.

At the competition, students also participate in instant challenges where they are given less than ten minutes to
build or perform a solution to a surprise problem.

“I like instant challenges because they make me have to think outside the box,” said a fourth grade Destination Imagination participant.

The resources and competition costs for this program were funded by a grant from Midway ISD Education Foundation. Their mission is to grant classrooms with resources beyond the regular classroom budget to provide creative and innovative curriculum to enhance learning within Midway ISD. If you would like to learn more about or contribute to the Edu cation Foundation, please visit www.midwayisd.org/foundation