CMDS STEAM Team Takes Show on the Road

The STEAM Initiative at CMDS forms the foundation of the school’s academic curriculum. The STEAM team – a dynamic group of teachers who leads these Encore classes – has been taking their show on the road. They’ve traveled to New York, Chicago and Kansas City to present at various educators’ conferences, including the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association and the National Art Educators Association. Math Lab Teacher Erica Lindsey shares more.

by Erica Lindsey

CMDS Math Lab Teacher Erica Lindsey

At CMDS, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math are integrated in an inquiry-based curriculum. This hands-on process more closely aligns with what students will experience as they progress in their academic career. Our teachers on the STEAM team for the 2018-19 school year are:

  • Shelley Bolton (6th Grade Art)
  • Mary Cheairs (Engineering Lab)
  • Christine Groves (Science Lab)
  • Dare Harcourt (1st-5th Grade Art)
  • Erica Lindsey (Math Lab)
  • Kim Moon (Technology Integration)
  • Linda Patterson (Discovery Lab)
  • Caroline Patton (EC Art)

Our team has weekly meetings to find ways to collaborate together, enrich the classroom curriculum and integrate projects across subject areas.

Yida Refugee Project Example of STEAM Collaboration

One collaborative project the STEAM team completed this year also involved Christ Church. The purpose of this collaborative project was to raise awareness of the need for a high school in the Yida Refugee Camp in South Sudan.

For Technology Integration, they found the Yida Refugee Camp on Google Earth. In Math Lab, students computed how much material (soil, sand and straw) was needed to make a certain number of bricks. The students also calculated the number of bricks necessary to construct the school.

In Engineering and Discovery Lab, the students made bricks like the ones used in Sudan. They used the bricks to build a model of the high school that they are wanting to build in Sudan.

In Science Lab, they learned about the main water source in Sudan and how they needed water filtration systems to clean the water. Students drew different pictures in Art for the notecard covers. Teachers selected one picture from each grade to use on the printed notecards.

In partnership with Christ Church and Operation Broken Silence, CMDS raised money by selling notecards designed in Art and bricks made in E-Lab.

Other STEAM Projects at CMDS

Grade School students have also worked on many other cross-curricular projects, including Pilgrims and Presidents (1st grade), Insects (2nd grade), NFL Stadiums (3rd grade), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (4th grade), Tiny Towns (5th grade) and Canstruction (6th grade).

Fourth graders took a delicious field trip to Shotwell Candy Co. as the culmination of their cross-curricular “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” study. They read the book in class and also designed and created their own “magic” candy in E-Lab

For the third grade’s NFL stadium projects, students had a budget that they cannot exceed. They designed a stadium and uniform, drafted players, and found housing. This project worked in conjunction with our STEAM Encore classes, where students designed and built their NFL stadium.

“One of the greatest benefits of having a STEAM program is that it helps students develop critical thinking skills and problem solving. CMDS is one of the few schools to have such a large STEAM team that supports and enhances experiences from early childhood through grade school. Most schools have one STEAM class, rather than a group of classes working on several projects together.”

Follow @cmdsteam on Instagram to see more.

Christ Methodist Day School opened its doors in 1958 to 75 kindergarten students. Since then, CMDS has stayed true to its Christian elementary school roots while continuing to thrive as one of the best private schools in Memphis. Come see why we are the primary choice for so many Memphis families.


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