STEAM Lab

Learn about our STEAM program

The Providence STEAM Lab's goal is to provide all K-6th grade students with the experience and coaching needed to overcome failure and fixed mindsets. Students use Innovator Skills of solving problems, working in a team, trying different solutions, acting as a leader, analyzing data, communicating effectively, and using imagination and curiosity to solve age appropriate engineering challenges. The program's foundation is based on research from Tony Wagner's Creating Innovators and Carol Dweck's Mindset, as well as other thought leaders on 21st century skills.  PES uses a dedicated lab space and two STEAM resource teachers to cycle all students through three to four engineering challenges during the year.  The challenges require five consecutive days for each class, which allows students to understand the challenge, take it through the engineering design process to collaboratively find solutions, collect and share data, improve designs, and reflect on how they used their Innovator Skills. The ultimate goal is for students to transfer these Innovator Skills to their everyday life and see the value of using these skills for the rest of their lives.

The PES STEAM Lab has been recognized multiple times:

  • Published in ITEEA Children’s Technology and Engineering Journal, “Critical Thinking: From Buzzword to Action” (May  2016)
  • International Technology and Engineering Educators Association  “Program Excellence” Award (2016)
  • Published in VCEC The Children’s Engineering Journal, “Why Engineering?” (Spring 2016)
  • Virginia Technology & Engineering Educators Association “Program of the Year” Award (2015)
  • Featured in Washington Post: Kids Post, “Fairfax Sixth-Graders Tackle Bridge-Building” (2014)
  • Virginia Mathematics & Science Coalition “Programs that Work” Award (2014)

Our STEAM Resource Teachers

Sarah Phillips STEAM Resource Teacher, ES skphillips@fcps.edu Diana Schmiesing STEAM Resource Teacher, ES dschmiesing@fcps.edu