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Let's STEAM the science and arts up in Prva gimnazija Varazdin
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) are the foundations of the business and industrial world today. Even when these are most important subjects, students often overlook them, however, it is still a skill-set that is in high demand by employers. Prva gimnazija Varazdin realized the importance of STEAM subjects and although these subjects can be challenging, the experience of learning them does not have to be a dull experience. With project "Let's STEAM the science and arts up in Prva gimnazija Varazdin" we want to promote STEAM subjects among students and the community and change their perspective. We are keen to nurture their talent, focusing on motivation, attitudes and enthusiasm among them by enhancing and enriching the classes of STEAM subjects. The project had three mail goals: 1. To improve teachers competencies in terms of new contemporary and modern teaching methods for STEAM subjects, so they can disseminate across the school and community and inspire and motivate students in the school and outside; 2. Internationalization of our school through networking and initializing new projects in the STEAM field; 3. To improve teachers' competencies in STEAM-specific English terminology. Based on very specific criteria, 5 teachers from science and art area were selected: biology teacher, physics teacher, chemistry teacher, literature art teacher and visual art teacher. Through collaboration of different teams in the school, appropriate courses were selected. 5 different training courses were selected in 4 different countries at the beginning: Italy, Sweden, Scotland and Finland. However, even though our teachers were keen to go through these specific courses, as they were carefully selected to help us meet our goals, we got notifications from three of these that they were cancelled due to insufficient number of participants applied. It was a challenge to find new courses, as the selection of courses in specific STEAM area is quite limited. In the end, our teachers participated in 5 different training courses in 5 different countries: Italy, Finland, Malta, Sweden and Iceland. They offered the insight into different innovative teaching approaches to learning STEAM subjects through experiential, experimental and interactive way, such as outdoor learning, using natural resources, event organizing, using museums as a place to learn, etc. After each teacher participant returned from the course, they started disseminating the results by presenting them at staff meetings and by organizing workshop for their colleagues, both in the school, county and in Centers of excellence. In the autumn 2016, at the beginning of new school year in Croatia, they will also prepare workshops for students in the form of "Science and arts festival", and they will motivate and monitor their students to prepare a workshop they will conduct in one primary school and one kindergarten in the community, thus promoting the importance of STEAM. Useful materials were shared among colleagues in school, and our school's website covered the news on different courses. Each teacher participant received a certificate, as well as European Mobility document. All teacher participants were encouraged to network during the courses and to initialize new projects, in order to better connect our school internationally, as well as to again promote STEAM, inspire teachers and the community and motivate students. Our teachers presented our school and school system to others, but also gained valuable knowledge about other schools and school systems. One teacher started to plan eTwinning project with another course participant, and there were some other projects discussed and planned. By our engagement with this project, we believe we managed to strengthen STEAM learning and skills already, as well as to produce a more creative students/workforce, but we also believe this is a continuing process that will last several years ahead.
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