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Glenburn school placing focus on hands-on learning through new 'STEAM' lab

"The day and age of the teacher lecturing the students for an hour straight should be long gone," David Davis, technology integrator at Glenburn School, said.

GLENBURN, Maine — Teachers and administrators at Glenburn School are taking a new approach to learning that's centered around a hands-on learning experience. 

David Davis, technology integrator at the school, said last year they converted a science lab to a STEAM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math, lab at the school. 

"The day and age of the teacher lecturing the students for an hour straight should be long gone," Davis said.

The new technology is for kindergarten through middle school students to use. 

"They will have all the building blocks in place and each year we'll just continue to build," Davis said. 

Some of the new technology for the lab includes a laser cutter, 3D printers, iPads, new computer software, and even codable robots, which fourth graders Agaba and Sayla said they're having fun with. 

"We use blocks and we organize them to make sure it can go through the maze," Agaba said. 

"I've never done this before so it's really fun," Sayla said. 

Even first graders are loving learning the early stages of coding, which for them incorporates solving math equations.

Chasen, a sixth grader at the school, is working on a book project in his English Language Arts (ELA) class. He said he's designing a train based on the one he's reading about. 

"It helps me be creative in my own way," Chasen said.

Ken Worster, technology director at the school, said the software also helps students tackle life experiences outside the classroom. 

"If they start early, they learn to approach a problem as something that can be solved and not something that somebody else has to solve for them," Worster said. 

"You can like see step-by-step what to do, and if you make mistakes, you can learn from it," seventh grader Kaylee said. 

Davis added the students' hands-on experience of working through trial and error on their own is the goal. 

"That's the best, most authentic learning that can happen in the classroom," Davis said. 

Davis said all of the new equipment is expected to be fully integrated into the curriculum for students over the next three to five years. 

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