Adding Art How Ralston middle school's high ability learners get creative with 'steam'

More than a dozen High Ability Learner (HAL) students are in the Ralston Middle School computer lab, giggling as they prepare to get creative with yearbook headshots of their favorite teachers.

The lab is focused on STEAM: a newer, expanded acronym to include Art alongside Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The addition recognizes the value of creativity even in a scientific setting. "The design was to integrate it all," said RMS art teacher Abby Schukei. "For the project, students were able to learn how to use a new software program [Adobe Photoshop] and connect to the RMS school community by using their teachers as a source for inspiration."

The project: turn their favorite teacher's headshot into a Rubik's cube.

HAL coordinator Christine Redemske said, "The media center had Rubik's cubes throughout the year and students have already been creating designs through geometry. We wanted to extend their learning in a different way."

Yes, that's a troll with teacher Michael Schneider. Ralston Middle School teachers have fun with their yearbook photos each year. This year's theme was, well, you get it.

Teacher Abby Schukei worked with students to re-color each photo in a multi-step process, since Rubik's cubes have only six hues.

A look at several student projects midway through completion.

There were plenty of questions along the way, and not everyone's first attempt was successful.

That's partly the point, Redemske explained, "It was also an opportunity to grow as learners, meaning they got the chance to experience struggle and how to deal with it," creating more resilient and independent learners.

As Schukei and Redemske rounded the classroom, students offered each other support, building collaborative opportunities.

Then, the finished product:

Reflecting on the lab, Redemske said, "the creativity involved and opportunity to learn new STEAM skills were invaluable." Schukei added, "even though students were challenged along the way it was fun to see their creativity, problem-solving skills, and how they captured the teachers they made into a 'cube'."


Created with images by Pexels - "colorful cube object"

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