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Elementary Career STEAM
Investigation Studio

prairie_creek_elementary_schoolPrairie Creek Elementary School, (Olathe, KS). In 2019, the Kansas Department of Education designated Prairie Creek Elementary School (PCES) as a Gemini School as part of a Kansas Can School Redesign Project. A school had to redesign around the five outcomes established by the Kansas State Board of Education, the five elements identified as defining a successful Kansas high school graduate, and what Kansans said they wanted their schools to look like in the future. The redesign process had to include personalized learning, real-world applications, community partnerships, and address student success skills. As part of the project, PCES created a Career STEAM Investigation (CSI) Studio which provides fifth graders an opportunity to experience career field interests. The career explorations in the studio are aligned with college and career standards as well as Kansas career clusters. The culminating activities in the lab design learning activities around students’ passions and interests. Students work in collaborative groups, solve real world problems, and experience hands-on, field based activities. Students gain a wider perspective of future career options. Some of the activities included: students building structures to withstand natural disasters, designing their own restaurant, and using knowledge of electrical circuits to illuminate a gnome house. Overall, teachers have noticed a new level of excitement in students and an increase in students’ abilities to collaborate, communicate, problem solve, and act as leaders. The CSI creates a smooth transition to middle school where students will implement their learned skills of choosing electives based on goals and interests and begin their Individual Plan of Study.