Aaron Schomburg

Science curriculum coordinator/Teacher @ Princeton Day School ,Princeton, NJ

Presentation Title: An Approach to Safety and Skills within an Elementary STEAM Environment

Abstract: With the growing demand for makerspaces, fab labs and steam labs, teachers are being asked to implement activities and projects that require certain skills and safety competencies. So, the question arises: how do we, as educators, best prepare and track our students regarding these safety concerns and fundamental skills? When students are engaged in STEAM-related activities in a variety of environments, whether in an independent or public school, teachers and administrators must be aware of both safety concerns and the teaching of skills. This presentation demonstrates how one school is preparing our students for STEAM opportunities throughout their elementary years, specifically highlighting grades 2-4. Participants will be introduced to a program designed for elementary age students that both motivates, tracks and teaches both safety and fundamental skills. Teachers will come away from the presentation with a clear example of how certain skills and safety issues can be addressed with younger students to help set the foundation for future work in STEAM environments which they may encounter. Genuine examples will be shared that include safety sheets, examples of student safety tests, and student made QR code videos. Students want to engage in project-based learning. This requires both skill sets and safety issues that both teachers and administrators need to address. This program is meant to be a model to teach to these concerns, track student readiness and motivate students to be aware of both safety and their ability to develop and hone new skills.

Biography: My name is Aaron Schomburg. I am the lower school science curriculum coordinator at Princeton Day Schools in New Jersey as well as one of the science teachers for grades PreK- 4. I am in charge of developing the curriculum and setting a solid foundation from which students will be successful as they continue into our middle and upper schools. I am currently on a 2-year committee to design and implement new STEAM facilities and curriculum. I am a member of the NJAIS professional development committee which formulates opportunities for independent schools in our state, of which, our latest was held as a STEM conference at Liberty Science Center and another later at the College and Academy of Saint Elizabeth. Pertinent professional development workshops that I have recently run include presenting in Hartford, San Diego, and Orlando for the National Science Teachers Association. I have also had two articles published in NSTA’s Science and Children journal, one of which was later included in an NSTA book entitled Stepping Up to Math and Science. I was featured in Independent School Magazine and have been cited for work with a group known as OSETI in Time magazine, Discover and The Astrophysical Journal.