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April 27, 2021

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Using CCAs to get the best out of STEAM

EXTREME STEAM (science, tech­nology, engineering, arts and math) at Dulwich College Pu­dong is designed to provide a range of STEAM-related opportunities for senior school students.

The spirit of these co-curricular ac­tivities (CCAs) is that there is a degree of fluidity between the activities on offer, allowing our students a high de­gree of flexibility and choice.

Benefits and skills

Traditionally we have run our STEAM offerings as separate CCAs. We thought we would try something different this year. In consultation with our Tech Ambassador student group, we came up with a list of activities.

These included our more “tradi­tional” clubs such as Robotics and 3D modelling, but our students also came up with innovative ideas such as Dulwich TV and Sound Lab.

Through offering such a broad range of choices, students do not need to stick to the same CCA all term. In­stead they can move freely between activities and have a range of STEAM experiences.

I believe this approach allows our students to truly develop their design thinking ability as they build and col­laborate across a range of disciplines.

Extracurricular activities

The tradition of holistic education is codified and supported by our Co-Curricular Activity program. CCAs range from the academic-focused to sports teams to hobby clubs to STEAM-focused to sevice-oriented.

There are over 200 different CCAs of­fered every term and the list is renewed every term. The CCA program starts as early as DUCKS Reception and 95 percent of students participate. Many discover their true passion and pur­pose through the CCA program.

At Dulwich Pudong, exploration of leadership is an essential part of our educational DNA. Our Live Worldwise vision means that students have both the skills and motivation to make a difference.

They have the ability to speak and act, the courage to pioneer and lead the way, the confidence to inspire and in­fluence those around them to galvanize behind their vision.

Fostering competitiveness

Competitive robotics requires stu­dents to work in a team and each take on a unique and intricate role that can­not be easily replaced.

This places a high sense of responsi­bility on each team member, pushing them to perform above and beyond their normal comfort zone and abilities to live up to their team’s expectations.

Not only does this foster each stu­dent’s independence and confidence in their area of expertise, but also al­lows students to act as a true team and leader in their respective area.

Our Panther Robotics club allows stu­dents to start off in one of the three pre-set occupations: programmers, builders and documenters.

However, once students feel comfort­able within their area, they can branch out to more unique and specialized options, with some choosing more de­sign-based options such as designers or CAD builders, some focusing on Java-based autonomous programming, and others creating entirely new pathways such as supply managers.

This instills a unique sense of iden­tity as students integrate their own style and personality into their roles, developing a position and working with a level of freedom not easily found within other competitive or athletic activities.

(This article is contributed by Yoran, Year 13, founding member of Dulwich Panther Robotics, and Stephanie, Year 12, head of Dulwich Panther Robotics.)

Some of the examples

• Panther Robotics: We design, build and test robots using a range of equipment.

• 3D creation space: Learn how to use 3D design software to create characters and objects, and then print them out to keep.

• Electronics Lab: Don’t know your Raspberry Pi from your Ardunio? Want to combine electronics and coding but don’t know where to start? Then this activity is for you.

• Sound lab: Calling all budding DJs, podcasters and sound engineers. Come and help us create a brand new sound studio.

• Club create: Start from a blank canvas and turn your designs into reality. We give you the tools, space and training, but you work inde­pendently or with friends to create anything you can imagine — no teachers allowed!

• Repair Café: For this student-led activity you will learn how to use a soldering iron and fix things — even broken laptops.


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