Children are natural researchers. They are experts at exploring their world. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) initiative at Antwerp International School (AIS) builds on natural curiosity to engage students in hands-on, interdisciplinary learning experiences. It fosters creativity, innovation and critical thinking, transforming our students into proficient STEM literates.
State-of-the-art STEM facilities in 2021
AIS is currently in the final stages of a €2+ million upgrade and redesign of our STEM facilities. The state-of-the-art STEMzone is scheduled to open in 2021. At AIS, we strongly believe that STEM is a language that every child should be proficient in, whether they pursue an engineering or humanities-based career.
The new STEMzone will increase the excitement and interest in STEM subjects and will provide hands-on opportunities, early exposure to STEM for the youngest students and continue to encourage girls’ participation in STEM activities.
I think the earlier you’re exposed to subjects within the STEM realm, the easier it will be for you to think out of the box, and find new ways of applying these subjects to your life.
- explains Ahalya Choksi from Antwerp World Diamond Centre.
It will also emphasize the development of creativity, innovation, analytical thinking and collaboration through STEM studies.
Swati Khambete, the director of Antwerp-based coding educator Future Brains said:
AIS is absolutely focused to give opportunity for all children in exploring STEM classes. One of the key steps AIS has taken is partnering with Future Brains to conduct coding workshops for kids based on their age and grade.
Our new STEM facilities will include science labs, fabrication labs, makerspaces, mathematics areas and most importantly common collaborative learning spaces. Our ambition is that this new area will develop into the heart of the campus where students and teachers work and learn together.
With the turn of the millennium, neuroscientific research and technological advancements have transformed our approaches to teaching and learning. Innovative architecture has quickly realized that it needs to complement this transformation rather than restrict it to old siloed approaches to school design.
By the way, there is usually an ‘A’ for arts added to STEM, transforming it to STEAM. However, due to the physical separation of our Fine Arts Center at AIS we have decided to only name our current project STEMzone.
STEM on display
Interdisciplinary learning is a very important aspect of our holistic approach to education. Our aim is to develop self-determined young adults who are able to pursue an idea right from the beginning to realization. Students at AIS plan their own projects from a very young age onwards and continuously refine their approaches to these projects throughout their career.
Last year, a Grade 10 student who is very passionate about renewable energy and mechatronics built his own electrically powered go-kart. He put all his acquired STEM skills and knowledge into planning the project and enhanced it with manual skills such as welding.
Another student was very interested in eco-friendly architecture. He decided to explore biomimicry and subsequently designed and modeled his own dream house. Both are excellent examples of STEAM on display!
The new STEMzone will further open up AIS to all students in our region, adding to our successful ‘AIS Seeks Talent’ scholarship initiative, which is based on our vision for a diverse, intercultural community.
AIS for Success
About the author
Andreas Koini is the Head of School at AIS. He ensures students establish a practical link between what they learn in the classroom and their future endeavors. He and his team continue to strengthen their community ties, establishing themselves firmly in the local area. He feels that the school is an asset to Antwerp and to Belgium, and collaboration with the local community reflects the importance they place on their relationships. AIS very much echoes Antwerp as a cosmopolitan city and a close-knit community with diverse nationalities and cultures.