st(engineering)am @ Sloca - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

Semper discentes—always learning together.
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st(engineering)am @ Sloca

You’ve probably heard something somewhere about STEAM education—it’s kind of an educational buzzword these days, from public to private schools and beyond. This acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math and is often used to emphasize a distinction from the traditional humanities subjects: history, social studies, and literature. Here at SLOCA, while our four-year cycle is built upon our literature and history, we believe that STEAM seamlessly integrates into our classical education with a twist. It shouldn’t be seen as opposing the humanities but rather as complementary to them and part of a greater endeavor of pursuing truth, goodness, and beauty in all of life.

After highlighting the “A” (Art + Music) and “M” (Math) of STEAM, we now delve into the “E” (Engineering) by highlighting our Makerspace program! Today, SLOCA High School Science Teacher, Sara Aguas, shares her thoughts and excitement about this exciting new program. 

At SLOCA, we desire for our students to both dive deep into history and walk confidently into the future. Because of this, we have recently launched our new Makerspace Program! With this program, we plan to teach our students the essential engineering and technology skills they will need in the modern world. Beyond that, we hope to make them thoughtful producers of technology who can help our world steward tech in a more true, good, and beautiful way.

At SLOCA, we desire for our students to both dive deep into history and walk confidently into the future… We hope to make them thoughtful producers of technology who can help our world steward tech in a more true, good, and beautiful way.

—Sara Aguas

This program is still in its fledgling state, but we have already started bringing our new Makerspace Carts into the classrooms. There is so much that these Makerspace materials can teach our students, but a lot of those can be boiled down into engineering. Wikipedia describes engineering as “the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items.” Through a wide variety of materials and activities, students are given the tools and teachings to use scientific principles to design and build—be it an animal, tent, or Medieval-inspired siege-machine!

We’ll talk more about technology at SLOCA in an upcoming post, but let it be known that our Makerspace carts have a lot of technology-focued engineering materials and activities as well. At a recent staff meeting, we welcomed Dash and Cue—little robots controlled by an interactive application that introduces students to the world of coding—to the SLOCA community. These adorable (yes, they’re strangely cute) robots are not only fun but provide a way to teach the very abstract concept of coding in a concrete way.

There are more fun STEAM products we are getting ready to launch at SLOCA, such as Ozobots, Makey-makeys, and Squishy Circuits! All of these products are geared towards teaching our students about technology with a minimal need to use screens. We desire that our students grow in their creativity and ingenuity, and we are excited to supply them with tools that will take their “making” skills to the next level!

All of these products, along with our LEGOs, will be used at this summer’s Makerspace/LEGO camp! During this week-long camp, students will become explorers: problem-solving and conquering obstacles using all of the gizmos and gadgets SLOCA has to offer! If you are looking for a fun way for your 1st-6th grade child to be introduced to STEAM, join us July 10th-14th from 9am-3pm to dive into the world of creativity, all while being guided by some of our STEAM staff here at SLOCA.

We are so excited to see this program grow into a beautiful and unique part of what it is to be here at SLOCA! Stay tuned for more on our Coding and Robotics programs here at SLOCA—coming soon in our Technology post!

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