East Rockaway began the new school year by implementing a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) curriculum for students in grades 3-6.

The STEAM classes alternate in six-week cycles at Centre Avenue and Rhame Avenue schools and will cover a variety of topics throughout the school year, such as computer coding, robotics and MakerSpace activities.

The first cycle began at Centre Avenue with a unit on computer coding. Students learned to create algorithms to move a character through a maze, converted movements into symbolic instructions and created programs to complete tasks. They also solved puzzles by dragging and dropping algorithms and had an opportunity to fix programs that did not function as anticipated. During the class lessons, students use the concept of Pair Programming, with one student serving as the “driver,” taking control of the keyboard and mouse, while the other student is the “navigator,” making suggestions, asking questions and halting the driver if necessary.

According to teacher Michelle Healy, the STEAM Program will allow students to engage in hands-on learning that challenges them to think critically and creatively.

“The students will apply content knowledge in meaningful ways that are applicable to the ever-changing world of technology. It's very exciting,” Healy said.