Full STEAM ahead at San Juan Elementary

Attention all scientists, artists, engineers, and young visionaries! San Juan Elementary School is proud to announce the opening of their futuristic iCan STEAM Lab where students are on board learning coding, developing critical thinking and logical reasoning skills, and letting their imagination fuel their designs and builds.

Across the street from the Mission in  San Juan Capistrano and nestled in the heart of the vibrant community, San Juan Elementary School has long been a beacon of academic excellence focused on cultivating bilingual, biliterate scholars. But now, with the unveiling of their state-of-the-art STEAM Lab, the school is poised to catapult young minds into the stratosphere of scientific discovery and artistic expression. From LEGO robotics kits to 3D printers, microscopes to paint palettes, the STEAM Lab is a treasure trove of possibilities.

Students as young as Transitional Kindergarten are all buzzing with excitement as they eagerly explore the interconnected worlds of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics with their weekly lessons while visiting the lab. Because CUSD has an “unwavering commitment to engage all students in meaningful learning experiences that develop STEAM literate students” the District has purchased 3D printers, LEGO robotics kits, Indi cars, Marty the Robot, STEAM Builder kits, Cricuts, and Sphero BOLTs to spark students’ interest in computational thinking and the computer science principles and make learning fun!  

Teacher on Special Assignment, Sophia Rendon, leads the lessons year-round. So while students are learning their new robotics, so are the TK-5 teachers, ensuring that the iCan STEAM Lab will have longevity and full commitment from the entire staff. As Ms. Rendon says, “The excitement has been astronomical! The students love their art lessons,  marvel at the LEGO Robotics, and they are all having access to their own Tinkercad accounts to create and print  3D designs!  Teachers are still engaging their own scholars in weekly science lessons but I get to connect those lessons to robotics, coding, 3D printing, art, math, engineering design challenges, and lots of–sometimes messy–fun. The iCan tools are great because they are designed to have a ‘low entry, high-ceiling’ for coding at different levels making it approachable and nonintimidating  to students of all ages. Next trimester’s focus is on Life Sciences so I’m excited to have everything from Madagascar Hissing cockroaches to butterflies to terrariums in the Lab. We believe the earlier students are exposed to the STEAM disciplines, the better!”  

Principal Dr. Manzanilla also recognizes the imperative of providing equitable access to STEAM education for all students.  The lab serves as a platform for innovation and empowerment, particularly for underrepresented groups like Latinos and girls, who are often overlooked in STEM fields.  The STEAM lab brings to life the school’s vision of being an effective professional learning community providing rigorous and equitable bilingual education ensuring at grade level or above learning for all students. 

San Juan Elementary and their magnificent iCan STEAM Lab exemplifies the school’s unwavering commitment to equipping students with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate an increasingly complex world.  They are challenging their scholars to dare to dream big in an ever-changing digital landscape where they hope to prepare students for jobs that don’t even exist yet. With each code created, each investigation explored, San Juan Elementary paves the way for a more inclusive future for generations to come.

Sharing is caring!