Skip to main content

Science and STEAM

Orinda's Vision for Science Instruction

chartclassroom teacherDeveloped  January 2015

All Orinda students will have meaningful, regular access to high-quality science and engineering learning experiences, in a variety of richly complex learning environments. These experiences will inspire curiosity, wonder, and a deeper understanding about the observable world, and will build student capacity to be scientifically literate, environmentally responsible citizens while providing a foundation for their future careers and lives.


group of participantsOrinda teachers participate in the BaySci Partnership for professional development through participation in the Champions Science Academy and Masters Program at the SF Exploratorium, the Teacher's Leadership Institute at the Lawrence Hall of Science, and FOSS inquiry-based instructional workshops to address Three Dimensional  (3D) Learning outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).


group workThe Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) provides a model for training and coaching to all Science Department teachers at OIS. Between 2013-19, professional development has included an analysis of the current curriculum with a focus on science and engineering practices within the Next Generation Science Framework, and integrating Science instruction with Literacy, Mathematics through project-based learning and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).


STEAM Project"STEAM" in OUSD is more than "science, technology, engineering, art, and math."  STEAM is about providing students with opportunities to problem solve and think critically.  Using content knowledge and real-world problems, students engage in short- and long-range projects to apply knowledge.  The OUSD STEAM also curriculum weaves in elements from the Buck Institute Project-Based Learning ("PBL") model,  the Stanford d.School Design Thinking model, as well as teaching coding and robotics skills. 

STEAM ProjectEach elementary site has its own dedicated space that is designed to support the STEAM curricula.  These STEAM Labs are equipped with all the tools and facility needs for students to design and build models to demonstrate their problem solving ideas.  Additionally, each STEAM Lab has a dedicated facilitator, as well as 21st century learning tools including 3D printers, hand tools, flexible furniture, and storage space.

STEAM ProjectIn the 2018-2019 school year, some schools have started shifting away from away from traditional science fairs, and they've begun embarking on arranging more innovative events including STEAM Expos, MakerFaires, and science nights.

By shifting student learning from a teacher-directed model to a student-discovery and creation model, we are developing and fostering the future of the professional world.