Aptos MS Students Learn About 3D Printing, Gardening, and More in STEAM Programs

Students at Aptos Middle School are getting hands-on learning experiences through project-based learning programs in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics). Through elective courses, students have the opportunity to learn about indoor vertical gardening and sustainability and make 3D printing projects.

One of the 3D printing projects that students are working on together is a structure for the indoor garden. Individual students have created items for the garden like jewelry and trinkets. They use a web-based app called Tinkercad to create the codes for the designs. Eighth graders in the program have an opportunity to apply for an apprenticeship where they stay after school and help maintain and replace the parts for the printers.

Aptos is located in the western portion of San Francisco, where the climate tends to be a bit colder, so gardening indoors helps students get the hands-on experience. They take soil samples and measure the pH, and learn which seeds adapt well with the environment. They even have the opportunity to take plants and materials home with them to garden at home, which the teacher Yesenia Castro-Mitchell says is great for equity so all students in the program can have plants to take care of at home.

Finally, students are decorating their classroom with murals highlighting aspects of STEAM and STEAM careers.