GEMS World Academy Chicago threads an innovative STEAM program (science, technology, engineering, art & design and math) throughout our International Baccalaureate curriculum.
Our approach is integrated; teachers work together to develop lessons and activities that resonate across disciplines. This is why, when students study a painting in a museum, they consider how light refraction is visualized in it, and it is why students use robotics kits to build versions of characters they explore in literature classes.
Our commitment to STEAM begins with our youngest learners, who are provided access to state-of-the-art technology and encouraged to see the world in terms of systems. All GEMS students are issued iPads, and starting in Grade 4, they are issued MacBooks, as well.
As students progress into the Upper School years (grades 6 and up), their use of technology becomes more sophisticated, as they begin to create, prototype and model. They develop an entrepreneurial “maker spirit” in our Design & Innovation Lab, a unique learning space that includes robotics and coding stations, laser cutters, 3-D printers and power tools.
Technology is not an end in itself at GEMS World Academy Chicago. Rather, it is a mindset that allows students to translate and interact with the world around them in meaningful, reflective ways. In 2016, GEMS was recognized as an Apple Distinguished School
for the way it integrates technology into the curriculum.
Math and science are integrated into the regular Primary Years Program
units of inquiry for Lower School students, providing a nuanced exploration of the order, patterns and systemic underpinnings of the world around us. In the Middle Years Program
, math and sciences are two of the eight subject groups that form the framework of the program.
GEMS students explore art throughout their academic journey. In the Lower School, students examine the basics of visual art and music, using those as springboards for larger engagements with creativity and problem solving. In the Upper School, drama and design are added to the program.
Our integrated STEAM program, ultimately, transforms students into creative problem solvers who know how to study challenges through multiple lenses. Our pedagogical approach is based on research and partnership with such institutions as Carnegie Mellon University and Tufts University, providing our teachers and students with the latests in STEAM theory and practice.