Not only is she the STEAM teacher, but she also runs most of the after school clubs like chess, Minecraft, junior robotics, and Lego. Mrs. Laun loves to travel with her family, read about the world, and play tennis. She used to be a consultant, but now she has the honor to teach STEAM to middle schoolers, which has been very rewarding. She thinks it is very important for students to problem solve and be critical thinkers.
Coding is a very important skill for the STEAM program. Not only is it fun for the kids, but it also is an investment in their future. Coding is an important skill to learn and coding can be taught on different levels. The Club uses block based coding for beginners and typed coding for students who are better. The reason kids love coding is because it involves problem solving. The students have to solve a lot of small problems to finish the one big one! The STEAM Club weaves together science, technology, engineering and math in creative ways. The activities will give students an art that they appreciate on a day to day basis. They do hands on experiments such as making a compass and airplanes. The technology is the device being used. The engineering is the knowledge used to create something. Math is the algorithm used to calculate. The science part deals with the organization of knowledge and how to test the technology being created.
The STEAM Club happens from 2:00-3:15 on Tuesdays for 1st and 2nd grade in the 8th grade science lab. It costs $50 for the equipment. STEAM not only happens in the after school Club, it is also a part of the Tech Exploratory Class in the middle school. Most of the coding taught at St. Joseph School is during Tech Exploratory in which students learn to program the Lego
Mindstorms robots to solve various challenges. This year, the kids have new kits that let students build and program circuits using lights, buzzers, buttons, motors, displays and much more.
St Joseph also teaches a few coding activities throughout the year for students in other grades who are not in the Tech Exploratory classes. For the last three years, St. Joseph School has joined schools across the country in participating in the Hour of Code. During Computer Science Education Week in December, we hosted four after school events for anyone in grades 1 and up. Laura explained, "I sometimes use the activities from Hour of Code, which can be found online at www.code.org, in class to introduce some of the core ideas of coding."
STEAM is happening in many different ways at St. Joseph School. The school is fortunate to have Mrs. Laun at the helm of many new and exciting STEAM experiences.