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Academics & Arts


STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics

Our STEAM Initiative provides a myriad of experiences designed to allow students to make cross-disciplinary connections, and to develop the skills necessary for them to be: engaged citizens, competent evaluators of information, capable problem solvers, innovative thinkers and creators.


Interdisciplinary learning is a hallmark of Laurel School’s academic programming from Early Childhood through Grade 12. As a national leader in STEM, Laurel School thinks strategically about how the skillset of an artist overlaps with and enhances skills mastered by professionals in traditional STEM fields. Where practical, our students are offered the opportunity to observe, to think critically, to interpret, to appreciate precision and scale and to communicate from the perspectives of a scientist, visual artist, mathematician, computer scientist, performance artist and engineer. Below are just a few examples of our interdisciplinary programming that incorporate the elements of STEAM.

List of 4 items.

  • In Pre-K, “M” is for Monarchs!

    Each fall, little girls and boys in Ms. Marshall and Ms. Gallagher’s Prekindergarten class discuss big concepts in the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. As they watch tiny caterpillars feeding and growing day-to-day, they learn that they hatch from eggs and then eat themselves full with nutritious leaves. Eager eyes observe the chrysalises in anticipation of the end of a two-week metamorphosis. This thematic unit engages students as they consider the perils that their young caterpillars face during their long migration to Mexico. Students create their own artwork based on observations of a chrysalis and coat their classroom tree branches with vibrant wings after viewing trees covered in resting butterflies!

    They build fine motor skills, solidify concepts and learn to observe just like scientists and artists do! Monarch observations also allow students to investigate butterfly anatomy—from its antennae to its tiny legs and stunning wings. Students learn how to tag butterflies for Monarch Watch and gain an understanding of the importance of helping professional entomologists gather information that can help protect the butterflies. This unforgettable experience comes full-circle as students watch their butterflies hatch and finally release them just in time for the butterflies' long journey southward.
  • Fourth Graders are Global Citizens with Level Up Village

    In the second half of their school year, Laurel Fourth Graders dive into STEAM concepts through a program called Level Up Village where girls are paired with students in a developing country in order to explore and innovate a solution to a global problem—electricity availability. The partner country changes each year with the most recent being India and Zimbabwe. The program follows the Engineering Design Cycle and the students use Tinkercad 3D software to develop designs which they send back and forth to get feedback in order to modify their designs.

    The students at Laurel as well as the students abroad are able to 3D print their solutions. The girls are so engaged not only with sharing and making a new best friend in another part of the world, but also with the general technology and 3D printing opportunities. In 2018, Cleveland’s News Channel 5 came to report on this innovative program; you can watch the broadcast here.

  • The Seventh Grade “Digs in” with STEAM

    Interdisciplinary initiatives are central to the Middle School experience at Laurel School. Each year, the Seventh Grade class has an extraordinary two-week interdisciplinary unit, called The Dig. It is grounded in archaeology, and includes challenging “field work” centered at our 150-acre Butler Campus. Using professional archaeological tools, our Seventh Graders work collaboratively, excavating, recording and measuring their own archaeological finds for later analysis.

    Students learn to illustrate the artifact shards they find using the system of lithic illustration developed in the 1980’s by archaeologist and illustrator Lucile Addington and still in use today. The girls are presented with the challenges conservationists and restorers are met with when they try to reconstruct artifacts from piles of assorted pot shards and chips. These intrepid budding archaeologists develop scientific skills, apply math skills, practice reconstructing clay artifacts and study the culture of a local Woodland Indian tribe from the sixteenth century.

  • Upper School Girls Delve into STEM Research

    Girls learn best through hands-on experimentation and teamwork. Laurel’s Upper School STEM curriculum provides each girl with the tools to confidently explore and ethically contribute to the physical world. All courses emphasize thinking critically, solving problems creatively and articulating ideas and findings to a variety of audiences.

    STEM opportunities in the Upper School come in the form of community engagement opportunities, STEM research with local academic institutions, networking with top STEM leaders in Northeast Ohio, and engaging in the independent STEM projects with Laurel’s Capstone Program.

    Upper School girls learn at Laurel and at prestigious STEM institutions the work of experimental design and research. As part of the STEM Research offering, students may also prepare for regional and state science competitions, such as the Northeast Ohio Science Fair.

Alumnae in STEM

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