Carlow STEAM+ Programs Blogs now available.

    Circuit Blocks Get Gritty

    A Home for Speck

    Stay Calm and Eat Apples: GigaPan in World Language

    Do > Happen: Language Arts in STEAM

    When Nothing IS Something: exploring Global Refugee Flow


    News from TRETC

    Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference

    TRETC Info

    "Talent is equally distributed. Opportunity is not."

    On November 6th, Mrs. Scott and Mrs. Ament learned about the newest offerings and practices in integrating technology into curriculum.  Mike Moe, venture capitalist and author of The Global Silicon Valley, presented his vision of technology as a force for developing equity. Mrs. Scott and Mrs. Ament explored resources for developing a coding program for grades K-8, as well as technology to support STEM Lab and Maker Space initiatives.




    "Amazon River Crossing" reborn as “Floor of Fire”

    Physical Fitness and STEAM

    Floor of Fire 1 Floor of Fire 2 Floor of Fire 3

          The activity began with a short introduction about each piece of equipment and the guidelines for each. For example, the beanbags were hand burning rocks, and could not be touched with hands and the Styrofoam pads could not touch the wood.

        I suggested that each team should first sit, and discuss a plan.  Of course, I had a simple plan in my mind, and was sure they would accomplish the task using my strategy.  I was completely wrong! They each enthusiastically grabbed equipment, and experimented with it. After a while, they realized they would have to work together.  They shared their discoveries and began to come up with a plan.  They put the plan into action, and when they met unexpected challenges, they worked together to find solutions.  I heard comments such as: “He is too big to do it that way, he will fall over.”, “We will need some type of a brace to help him balance”, and “The blocks slide easier on the carpet, than the scooter.”

         I will admit, if you entered the room to observe, it looked like mass chaos. Equipment was scattered around the room, children were screaming new ideas, children were cheering, and children were sliding, and hopping and running. They were using equipment in ways I have never seen it be used.  But if you stood there for just a few minutes and watched, they were communicating, sharing, discovering, experimenting and building. What a great combination of teamwork, and engineering!

       This activity evolved from one that we used to do in the swimming pool.  The object was to get your whole team across the pool the quickest by using designated equipment to build a raft.  If the students touched the water, they had to start over. I changed the name from “Amazon River Crossing” to “Floor of Fire”, but the concept stayed the same.  Pam Pyska




    Coming Soon: micro:bits!



    Mrs. Ament and Ms. Davis attended BirdBrain Technologies' Catalyze Learning Summer Institute. Topics included equity access for all learners, best practices in maker education and strategies for incorporating robotics into diverse curricula. They experienced BirdBrain's new micro:bit and Hummingbird Bit  combo and formed a professional learning community of educators across the country who will be collaborating on projects inspired by the Institute.  


    Poetry in Motion 2018

    Students in Ms. Davis's 7th Grade Language Arts class used Hummingbird microcontrollers

    to design and construct robotic animations of themes from poetry.

    "Welcome to the 7th grade Poetry in Motion presentations.  Today you will hear dramatic readings of “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by Maya Angelou, “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost, “Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, and “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll.  You will also see our visual robotic representations of these poems. Our Poetry in Motion projects were created using the Humminbird Robotics Kits and various other materials. We have spent countless hours building, painting, gluing, and programming, so we are delighted that you are here to see all of our hard work. Sit back, relax, and enjoy watching poetry come to life."

    Click below each image to read the orginal poem and student reflections on the project.


    Life Doesn't Frighten Me by Maya Angelou



    Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll


    Snowy Evening

    Stopping by  Woods on a Snowy Evening, by Robert Frost



    Fire and Ice

    Fire and Ice, by Robert Frost





    Maker Challenge 2018

    “Culturally, makerspaces, both inside and outside of schools, are associated with collaboration and the free flow of ideas. In schools, maker education stresses the importance of learner-driven experience, interdisciplinary learning, peer-to-peer teaching, iteration, and the notion of "failing forward", or the idea that mistake-based learning is crucial to the learning process and eventual success of a project.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maker_education


    Work at The Campus School often includes a Maker component, as students apply  a range of skills to solve a problem. The process is honored in the spring during the Maker Challenge. In April, students are able to “shop” from an array of recyclables for materials to design a game or device. During Remake Learning Days (https://remakelearningdays.org/), older and younger students paired up to share constructions and design from provided materials.

    Shopping for materials.

    "Shop" for materials.


    Ways to Fasten

    Study construction strategies.


    Working on a Plan

     Develop a plan.


    Repeat Trials

     Try. And try again.




    "Building" Strong Minds and Bodies

    Applying engineering skills in physical education and swim classes

    allows students to develop an intuitive understanding

    before they are called to apply these skills to an academic task. 

    PreK Balance Beam

    Pre K students build and traverse a balance beam track.



    Pool Crossing

    An unexpected place for an engineering challenge?

    Design a float and successfully cross the pool, then send the materials back!




    Carlow CREATE Lab Satellite hosted the 2016 Satellite Network Retreat, with our partners from CMU,

    WVU, West Liberty University, Marshall University, Georgia Tech, and Southern Utah University.

    Exploring Social VR

    Exploring Social Virtual Reality with Ali Momeni, Associate Professor of Art, CMU



    Make Way for Finches

    Testing a Finch Robot Program

    Students in third grade work with our friends at Bird Brain Technologies to explore robotics by writing code to control Finch Robots.

    AIU Showcase

    Presenting with our partners from CMU CREATE Lab, at Allegheny Intermediate Unit STEAM Projects Showcase, 2017.





    The CREATE Lab Satellite Network is expanding. In September 2016, we welcomed satellites from Utah and Atlanta, Georgia.

    Learn more about our Carlow CREATE Lab Satellite.









     ReCharge Academy

      Carlow hosts the REcharge Labs Academy. Thirty participants are exploring ways to teach with wind and solar power. 






    Tech Fair 2016

    Technology Fair, May 2016,  sharing Arts and Bots Projects "Poetry in Motion" and "Culture in Motion"







    Sharing our STEAM+ Curriculum at the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, Washington. DC, 2016



    Satellite Banner

    STEAM+ Initiative

    We recognize the value of interdisciplinary investigation,

    and the inspiration that results

    from the convergence of different disciplines.  


    The goal of STEAM+

    Merge diverse standards

    into a captivating experience

    that integrates new concepts

    into students’ existing understanding.




    Students at work maintaining the garden.

    Cultivating the garden.


     STEAM Showcase 2018

    STEAM Showcase 2018, St. Agnes Center


    The STEAM+ Curriculum

    During summer 2015, a team from The Campus School Faculty completed a grant-funded project to describe elements of our STEAM+ Curriculum. The team composed a document providing a sample of activities comprising our STEAM+ offerings. Click on the links below to read the project introduction and examine components of our program. Items listed are representative samples of lessons, activities and projects which integrate disciplines and incorporate aspects of engineering and technology. The matrix is a living document, changing in response to student needs and new research in the fields of cognition and education.

    STEAM+ Curriculum Introduction

    STEAM+ Curriculum



    STEAM+ is a program of partnerships



    Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway Partner 

    In the fall of 2015, The Campus School embarked on an evaluation of its STE(A)M offerings using an instrument provided by the Carnegie Science Center. We have looked at our strengths and challenges and set goals for advancing our STE(A)M Education program. Click here for a list of other Pathway Partners.




     remake learning logo


    A member of the Remake Learning network

    The Campus School and Carlow University have joined with partners in the Remake Learning Network, a program of The Sprout Fund, to shape the future of learning in the greater Pittsburgh region.





     CREATE Lab Logo

    Carlow University CREATE Lab Satellite

    The Satellite at Carlow University represents a partnership with The Campus School of Carlow University, Carlow's Education Department, and Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab. The satellite focuses on STEAM Education practices uniting principles of high performance learning through the lens of a scholar-practitioner model. Its target population includes PreK-8 learners and classroom teachers, Carlow University undergraduate and graduate teacher candidates, and higher education faculty from multiple disciplines. 


     For more information, contact Suzanne Ament , Project Coordinator




    Current CREATE Lab Projects



    Message from Me -- communicate the activities of the day with families through text and images.

    Message from Me Kiosk

    The Message from Me kiosk


    Children's Innovation Project -- develop persistence and inquiry strategies through the medium of circuitry.

     Sketching a circuit

    Designing and sketching a circuit in kindergarten.


    Arts and Bots -- Use a programming language to activate sensors and motors to bring a concept to life.


    Fifth grade programming with the Hummingbird Kit and SNAP software



    Arts and bots -- the BIG picture.

    Arts and Bots Panorama



    Arts and Bots -- Poetry in Motion

    Seventh Grade Language Arts students created robots to represent selected poems. The challenge required students to program the SNAP language to activate motion, lights, and vibration aspects of the Hummingbird Kit in a structure or diorama that illustrated themes of their chosen poems.

    Poetry in Motion SNAP Programming Poetry in Motion Consruction Poetry in Motion Lights Poetry in Motion Build




    GigaPan -- capture gigapixel panoramic images for close study and sharing with the world community. Click on the links to explore details of each image.

     Students in Fourth Grade World Language classes create an environment for living a language.

    Ducky World 2014-15-- Lyon and Orleans, France  

    Click to view the panoramic image.











    Ducky World 2015-16-- Chichicastanengo and Solola, Guatemala

    Ducky World Guatemala


    Check out these precursor images from Mme. Linda's adventures in Guatemala:

    One of our first GigaPan landscapes:  El cemetario y los volcanes .

    Look for the hidden vocabulary: Kie Balam Spanish School



    Life in The Gilded Age. Eighth grade students are preparing to take a pair of images contrasting facets of life in the upper classes and working classes on their trip to Henry Clay Frick's home, Clayton and the remains of the Carrie Furnaces.

     Students learn to use GigaPan cameras

    Click here look at an explorable image on the GigaPan site: Life in the Gilded Age

    Students prepared masks bearing facts about life in the upper and lower classes. Their posters highlight important events of the Gilded Age.

    Come back often -- we are in the process of editing in detail shots -- it was a bright, bright day.


    Main aisle

    Two GigaPan views of The 2016 STEAM Showcase:

    From above

    From ground level



    Carlow University Spring Professional Development Institute, 3.18.16

    "Using GigaPan High Definition Panoramas to Expand Student Experience" (Suzie Ament and Linda Wallen)

    The Parlor (Parlor Series Yetta 12)

    The Studio (Parlor Series Studio R)



    Members of The Campus School faculty have shared STEAM+ strategies at local, state and national venues:

    • How to Solve a Problem You've Never Seen Before, Pittsburgh Association of Independent SchoolsKiski School, Saltsburg PA 2009
    • Flatland, An Interdisciplinary Exploration in Geometry, Literature and Social Studies, Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics, State College PA, 2011
    • Exploring the Towers of Hanoi: integrating Math and Social Studies, Pittsburgh Association of Independent Schools, Shadyside Academy Senior School, Pittsburgh PA, 2011
    • Developing 21st Century Skills, Scholar Practitioners' Joint Meeting of The Campus School and the Carlow University Department of Education, Pittsburgh PA, 2011
    • Hills, Steps and Slopes, National Association of Laboratory Schools Conference, Pittsburgh PA, 2013
    • Using Robots to Teach Mathematics, National Association of Laboratory Schools Conference, Pittsburgh PA, 2013 
    • Getting to the Root of STEM, Pittsburgh Association of Independent SchoolsSewickley Academy, Sewickley PA 2013
    • Using Fantasy Football to Teach Mathematics, Pittsburgh Association of Independent Schools Conference, Sewickley Academy, Sewickley PA 2013
    • Roots of STEM, National Catholic Education Association, Pittsburgh PA, 2014
    • Girls for Engineering, Math, and Science, Virginia Children's Engineering Conference, Richmond VA 2014
    • Roots of STEM, STEAM Showcase, Carlow University, Pittsburgh PA, 2015
    • STEAM at the Carlow Satellite, CONTEXT Conference / Remake Learning Rally, WQED Studios, Pittsburgh PA 2015
    • Branching Out: growing a STEAM Partnership, International Association of Laboratory Schools Conference, Chicago IL, 2015
    • Branching Out: growing a STEAM Partnership, National Science Teachers Assocation STEM Conference, Minneapolis MN, 2015
    • STEAM+ Curriculum Project, International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, Washington DC, 2016
    • STEAM+ Curriculum Project, ABC Create Showcase, New Kensington, PA 2016
    • Using GigaPan High Definition Panoramas to Expand Student Experience, Carlow University Spring Professional Development Institute, 2016
    • Integrating CIP and GigaPan for Early Learners, REcharge Academy, Pittsburgh PA 2016
    • STEAM+ Curriculum Project, AIU STEAM Showcase, Pittsburgh PA 2016
    • Roots of STEM, International Association of Laboratory Schools Directors' Tour, Carlow University, Pittsburgh PA 2016
    • Professional Development to Support Innovative Teaching and Learning, Remake Learning, Pittsburgh PA 2017
    • STEAM+ Curriculum Project, presentation and tour for Chartiers Valley SD, Pittsburgh PA 2017
    • Roots of STEM. International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, Dallas, TX 2017
    • Pre-service Pathways to CREATE Lab Integration and Ducky World: Integration of Circuits into World Language, CONTEXT, Pittsburgh PA 2017
    • Do and Happen: Circuits in Montessori 3-6, Allegheny Intermediate Unit STEAM Showcase, Pittsburgh PA 2017
    • Developing a STEAM+ Curriculum, Finch Robots, Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference, Montour PA 2017 
    • Bright Lights, Big City and Ducky World, Pittsburgh Alliance of University Schools Conference, Pittsburgh PA 2018
    • The Matrices, CREATE Lab Satellite Retreat, Huntington WV 2018
    • Developing a STEAM+ Curriculum, International Association of Laboratory Schools, Pittsburgh PA 2018