Full STEAM Ahead

By Anna He

Masks. Minerals. Marshmallow launchers. Only in Ms. Hannah Bohlen's science classroom at E.K. Powe Elementary would such a crazy combination of seemingly unrelated concepts fit right in place. As an Arts+ (A+) school, E.K. Powe embraces the idea that an intertwined STEM and art (STEAM) education does wonders to engage students academically. Ms. Bohlen takes that idea to heart by incorporating innovative, hands-on projects into her curriculum. No matter what age, students leave Ms. Bohlen's classroom intellectually stimulated. But the genuine warmth and community that forms in science class ultimately bring the students back, eager to tap into their full potential.

I want to thank Ms. Bohlen and her students for graciously taking part in my documentary studies project. As someone who loves the outdoors and hopes to study environmental science, I was delighted to see the passion that drove both the first and fourth graders in Ms. Bohlen's science class. I had started my project expecting to write a narrative of how science became more "serious" as the students grew older. Instead, I stumbled into a world where every student maintains their enthusiasm for learning while being their true selves. Approaches to education that engage students of all backgrounds are so, so valuable because we need more scientists. We need more engineers. We need more artists. And above all, we need more classrooms, full of love and laughter, like Ms. Hannah Bohlen's.