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Let's Celebrate STEAM Day!

In honor of National STEAM Day, we sat down with our Summer Institute for the Gifted Director of Academics, Caroline Daniel, to ask what STEAM means to her at SIG, how we celebrate the STEAM curriculum all year round, and some fun insights into her favorite courses.  

How would you describe the STEAM+ curriculum?

Caroline: "SIG has a unique curriculum that develops critical, complex, and creative thinking skills through a wide range of disciplines, allowing students to enhance existing talents while acquiring new ones. SIG’s academic approach allows students to make multidisciplinary connections with course content while working on principles of a problem-based learning approach to enhance their creative thinking and guide them towards innovation."

How would you describe the STEAM+ curriculum?

What are its benefits to students?

Caroline: "There are three main benefits SIG’s STEAM+ curriculum offers:  

  • Students are guided in their learning to think like a disciplinarian in their topics of interest and dig deep to find how they can produce original ideas within their scope of passion  
  • In looking at the 2030 labor market and skills sets students will need to have a competitive edge, SIG courses help develop 21st Century Learning to nurture skill sets in innovation & learning, technology, life/career competencies through our instructional approach and access to academic evening workshops for grades 6-12.  
  • Not only do SIG courses offer engaging, innovative course content, it also prepares students for research skills they will use in post-secondary options. From as young as Kindergarten all the way to high school, SIG students will develop research skills, understand research methodology, and how to guide their inquiry towards unanswered questions in the field that can produce novel products and solutions as a global citizen."

Did SIG always have the STEAM+ curriculum or did it evolve?

Caroline: "SIG has always facilitated an academic experience that has allowed students to take a multidisciplinary approach to learning. For instance, when students enroll in a course, Bacteriology: Uncover Its Culture (grades 6-8), they have not only study discipline-specific knowledge on pathogens and human health, but they also explore the economic impacts of antibiotic resistant bacteria and how technology has revolutionized advancements in drug production. Our courses and academic experience allow students to gain a full 360 view of course topics while developing their personal interests within the course. Students leave SIG programs understanding the influence they can have across fields and how they can pursue novel ideas to make a difference in society."

Did SIG always have the STEAM+ curriculum or did it evolve?

What was your favorite subject in school?

Caroline: "I loved my ELA and Humanities courses. Later when I became a teacher, I also enjoyed teaching English/Language Arts and getting students to enjoy how authors use language and story elements to entertain. I also have a soft spot for science!"

What's your favorite SIG course at each grade level and why?

Caroline: "I love talking about SIG courses, so this is a great question!

At the K-2 grade band, I am looking forward to developing and seeing our new course, The Mason Jar Science Lab, in action. This course is a great introductory course in chemistry, biology, and so much more through fun-packed experiments all done in a mason jar.

In grades 3-5, looking forward to all the fun and learning students will have in Catapults to Curve Balls: The Physics of Projectile Motion. This course explores the science of ballistics (study of projectiles) through science and math principles and is a great interdisciplinary exploration that will be full of experiments and hands + minds-on learning experiences.

For 6-8 grades, I am excited about the course Smart Cities: Reimagining Urban Infrastructures. This is a great course for gifted and advanced students because it allows them to imagine the future in a new way and engage with problem-solving processes through the lens of economics, technology, policy, urban development and so much more.

Finally, for the 9-12 grade band, there are two new courses that are my favorite—AI Robotics: Machine Learning and Programming and Cancel Culture: Should Society be Judge and Jury? The AI Robotics course is one that I am looking forward to seeing in programs because students will not only get to explore artificial intelligence and coding concepts but experience their learning with programming a self-driving robotic kit. Finally, I cannot wait to see Cancel Culture with our SIG students. This course is by far my most favorite because it offers a platform for debate and discourse with controversial and relevant topics which our SIG students will enjoy. "

What's your favorite SIG course at each grade level and why?

What are you most excited about for Summer 2022?

Caroline: "I am excited about our course line-up at each grade band, our 2-period academic day that allows students to dive deeper into their interests and the course content, and our academic evening workshops for residential 6-12 grade students that help them develop career/life skills. SIG has always been the leader in innovative courses that provide gifted and high potential youth the academic freedom to lead with their intellectual curiosities and make it count for the world around them. 2022 will be even bigger and better, and I cannot wait to see all our academic programming in action next year!"

Thank you so much, Caroline! We're beyond excited for Summer 2022, too!

About Caroline

Caroline Daniel serves as the Director of Academics for the Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG) with Summer Discovery and has 18 years of experience in gifted education. She is a certified K-12 administrator and K-8 teacher with specialization in gifted and talented education and ESL learners. Caroline has served as an elementary school teacher, Advanced Academics District Specialist K-12, and an Academic Director for gifted academic programming. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies/Elementary Education, Master in Education Administration and Supervision and pursuing a Ph.D. in Education Administration and Leadership.  

Caroline serves as an expert on curriculum differentiation for gifted and academically talented students and leads professional development for teachers and school leadership in best practices and gifted education at the local, state, and national levels for high-potential youth. Her expertise and passion with innovative curriculum design and instruction provide unique opportunities for gifted and advanced learners to uncover new passions, develop confidence, and challenge them to utilize their gifts and talents as problem solvers. 

About Caroline

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