Visit to STREAM School

Wow. Just wow.

Mike Lubelfeld, Amy Rubin and I visited Hamilton County Schools in Hamilton, Michigan yesterday to observe an incredibly innovative approach to teaching and learning. At Hamilton Middle School, a handful of teachers are cultivating scientists, historians, business leaders, museum curators, and more, all through a project-based approach in their school-within-a-school called STREAM School. STREAM stands for Science Technology Reading Engineering Arts and Mathematics, and learning comes alive for all students in this incredible program.

In this environment, students lead the learning from start to finish, with teachers serving as facilitators and advisors along the journey. Authentic audience, natural community partnerships and shared vision among all stakeholders are what makes this program incredibly successful. Students at STREAM School internalize their learning on a completely different level than what we tend to see in most traditional classrooms.

Take a look at the video below to get a little taste of what STREAM School has to offer these middle schoolers.

The big question for District 109 is how can we bring this hands-on approach to learning into our classrooms? The answer lies within the small pilot groups that we are igniting around the District. Beginning this January, we will have 12 teachers utilizing a platform called DefinedSTEM, which “enables teachers to provide application of knowledge to students through the use of project based learning, real world careers, and meaningful reading and writing activities.” (Learn more at We will be following this group closely on this blog to share how these experiences are impacting student learning and engagement in each of the pilot classrooms. Stay tuned for more information on our DefinedSTEM pilot.

A huge thanks to Hamilton’s Superintendent, Dave Tebo, who spent the entire day with my team giving us the grand tour of the exciting work taking place in Hamilton. Learn more about STREAM School by visiting and following them on Twitter at @STREAMschool.

2 thoughts on “Visit to STREAM School

  1. Looking forward to see how this grows for your group. Most important part for us is having authentic deliverables that mean something to the user! Come to find out if it is not real, it is not real! Keeping this at the forefront helps us avoid creating “dessert projects” that have their terminal home in a dumpster. Without this important audience we cultivate bad PBL…Which is a death sentence for programs such as this. Thanks again for stopping by!

    • Thanks for your comment, Bob. I could not agree with you more. Authentic audience and deliverables will separate true PBL from just doing “projects”. We so often confuse projects with products – posters, slide shows, brochures, etc. Those products need to be a part of a much bigger picture. I wish everyone could visit you at STREAM. Thank you and your team for leading the way!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *