Taking time for a good STEAM

  • 2022
  • High School
High School STEM Team


Science by its very nature is a multidisciplinary process that takes time. While the value of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) is widely recognized in education to better reflect how science actually works and exists within society, rarely do teachers have the time and space to explore science with their students from such a wide range of perspectives.

At The Harbour School, high school students take a week between Terms 1 and 2 to engage in an intensive week-long STEAM course of their choosing. This year the STEM team and all three Centers of Excellence (The Foundry, the Marine Science Center and the Black Dolphin) were fully engaged as students took time to immerse themselves in STEAM for a week. The wide variety of course offerings are described below.

Building a Box for the Essence of Life with Sam Crickenberger, Dean Lea, Andrew Gilbert
TV crime shows commonly depict the rapid collection and analysis of DNA to quickly determine potential suspects, but how does that really work? In this course we will examine how DNA is collected, amplified, and analyzed. We will analyze DNA samples using gel electrophoresis chambers we will build and then use them to run DNA samples to solve a murder mystery that we will make a short movie about. For a final product students will show their short murder mystery movie and present posters about the science of DNA and the building of the gel electrophoresis chambers.

A New Lens on Hong Kong with Richard Hinchman and Silvio Ruprah
Taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of what surrounds us is often an opportunity we do not choose to relish. In this course, students will have the opportunity to appreciate and experience the beautiful and technical side of Nature Photography.  Students will explore the world of nature photography through Hong Kong's array of landscapes. They will be able to experiment with different camera mechanics such as shutter speed to catch an animal in motion or try out different depths of field for close-up shots or landscape photos. Sometimes the journey is just as rewarding as the shot and students will be able to access some of Hong Kong's most iconic trails and viewpoints to try and achieve that perfect shot. There will also be a strong focus on post-processing in Lightroom/Photoshop.

Sail Hong Kong with Jay Stanley, Ulf Hellekant, and Kyle King
The sailing and leadership class from Term 1 developed an itinerary, passage plan and short induction on sailing aboard Black Dolphin. With the oversight of Captain Jay and First Mate Ulf students will take the lead in sailing the boat over the course of a three day two night trip in Hong Kong waters. The learning will be hands-on and centered around navigation with boat instrumentation and charts. Students will record their experiences and culminate in a media presentation of their journey and learning.

Subaquatic Hong Kong with Sarah Taylor and Dirk Labuscagne
This course will explore the marine ecosystems in the southern district to design and build a negatively buoyant structure to act as an ecosystem enhancement tool that can be monitored by THS students in the following months and years. In this hands-on heavy course, students will work in groups to build proper artificial reefs using the materials provided and then they will place the structures in the southern district at different depths in order to help restore marine organisms as well as to provide surface for marine organisms. The structures will be monitored throughout the year for data collection.

What’s in a Number? with Suraj Samtani and Alex Mrkich
Numbers, formally known as statistics, help us analyse trends, understand people's traits and achievements, and predict and affect future decisions. In this course, students will have an opportunity to research and collect data, and perform and present statistical analyses and findings appropriate to individual levels. Students may choose their own topic or theme to focus on for the week, including a number of field trips for data collection. In addition, the week will feature talks by the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong to cement a real-life sense of how numbers are used in life. This course is particularly useful for students with an interest in pursuing mathematics beyond the realms of textbooks and academic curricula. 

We are living in the 21st century where questions in science, technology, engineering and math require specialization coupled with the ability to effectively communicate, create, problem solve, collaborate, and innovate with people from a wide diversity of fields. Arts are both a means of effective communication to build understanding among fields and inspiration for future questions we should be answering. Simply staying in one lane does not set students up for future success. Learning by doing during STEAM Week builds these 21st century skills as students take the time to work together in collaborative teams, iteratively discover and problem solve, and develop a way to effectively communicate their experiences and new found understanding in a showcase on the final day of STEAM Week.

Explore More

Begin your journey