STEAM concept takes off at BEA

BLUE EARTH — On Monday, the Blue Earth Area school board were given an update on a new class at BEA that encourages students to think outside the box.

At the meeting, Middle School Science Teacher Brian Kokos gave a presentation on BE A Quest, an elective class for seventh graders that just finished its first year. According to Kokos, there are currently about 22 students in the class.

The class is part of the STEAM education concept, focusing on finding innovative ways to teach students about Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. The class, said Kokos, is a hands-on learning environment where students use tools and technology to solve real-world problems, taking ideas from concept to completion.

KoKos said that the class description is “Imagine, Innovate and Create.” The process of working on a project goes from imagining to creating, playing to sharing and reflecting before returning to imagining the next project.

“We kind of look at what do the students want to do and then we kind of go from there,” said Kokos. “We build on projects that way.”

In the class, students have learned about and completed projects pertaining to coding, alternative energy, electronics, woodshop and graphics art design.

Kokos brought examples of the project that students have worked on in the class, including a miniature drone made from Legos, creations built by the 3D printer and a rocket launcher, which students will use at the end of the year to launch the rockets that they have made.

“They’re pretty excited about that,” said Kokos. “Why not fill something up with water and air and see how far it can travel.”

Kokos also showed videos of some of the more complex projects, such as a Rube Goldberg machine and a marble run.

Kokos said that he hopes to see the class grow as the years go on, using resources such as the high school engineering classes and the robotics team to give students more experiences to learn STEAM concepts through hands-on activities.