Wilson Hall is a certified Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) school by the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA). To earn the certification, the school met SCISA STEAM standards that include having an inquiry-based learning environment for students that encourages problem-solving, students working independently and collaboratively, and students demonstrating creative and critical thinking.
Other STEAM standards include students using technology resources to conduct research, learning through performance-based assessments, and students demonstrating oral and verbal communication skills to express and elaborate their conclusions. STEAM activities are incorporated into classes, involving hands-on activities to enhance and compliment traditional teaching methods. Students in each class, from three-year-old preschool through twelfth grade and across all academic disciplines, participate in STEAM activities.
While discussing dental health, Preschool 4 students conducted an “egg-speriment” by placing a hard-boiled white egg in a cup of water, a cup of cola, and a cup of grape juice. The students predicted what would happen to the eggs before letting them soak for 24 hours. After taking the eggs out of the liquids, the students observed the effect of sugary drinks on teeth.
Former Advanced Placement Seminar students returned to the class to collaborate with the current students, helping them revise their research questions for their individual written argument for the AP Exam.
In the Advanced Placement Physics class taught by Mr. Sam Harrelson, students participated in a bridge building competition. The construction and testing of model bridges promotes the study and application of principles of physics and engineering, and it helps students develop hands-on skills. The team of Jeremiah Jones, Tony Jones, Zach Scholz & Bennett Wilson set a new Harrelson Bridge record with 550 pounds. The bridge built by Dillon Bartlett, Daniel Burton & Slade Custer held 450 lbs.
While celebrating Dental Health Month, Preschool 3 students welcomed Ms. Jenny Thigpen, a registered dental hygienist with Caroline Children’s Dentistry. Students learned how to keep their teeth clean by brushing away the “sugar bugs,” and about healthy eating habits through a variety of foods.
As the culmination of a six-week research project, students in the English 12-Senior Seminar classes deliver their presentations to classmates and faculty. The presentation, which was accompanied by a research paper, stemmed from the following task: develop a research question that expresses your curiosity about the human need for connection. Topics ranged from the value of networking for a professional career to the extent social skills acquired as a child affect one’s adult life.
As a project in their Study Skills class to spread Valentine’s Day cheer, sixth grade students made cards for the residents of Covenant Place and Crosswell Home for Children.
Mr. Nicky, who writes the parody songs sixth grade students listen to in order to assist in their learning of ancient history, made a virtual visit to their history class. Students sang along with him on their favorite songs, and they wrote their own song about world religions.
As a STEAM project, students order and compare rational numbers through multimodal learning. They are 7th Grade Pre-Algebra I Plus and 8th Grade Pre-Algebra II students taught by Mrs. Teresa Alexander.
Advanced Placement Seminar sophomores connect themes between stimulus sources to prepare for their College Board Task Two Individual Written Arguments and Individual Multimedia Presentations.
In their Introduction to Chinese Language class, eighth-grade students made bubble tea and designed their own cup labels using Chinese characters. They also learned to form complete and meaningful sentences with bubble tea-related vocabulary.
As a STEAM activity, students use Play Doh to model muscle contraction in their Honors Anatomy class.
To observe the effects of fatigue in skeletal muscle contractions, freshmen in the biology classes conduct a lab to demonstrate how muscle fatigue can occur when a buildup of lactic acid disables muscle function.
While studying the letter O, Preschool 3 students enjoyed ocean yoga, made bird ornament feeders, and developed fine motor skills with ice hammers.
As a STEAM activity, students use Play Doh to model muscle contraction in their Honors Anatomy class taught by Mrs. Ashley Morris.
As a STEAM project, students in the lower school computer science classes, taught by Mrs. Emma Ayres, designed sugar cookies on Google Jamboard. Mrs. Ayres baked sugar cookies so the students could then create their computer-created designs on an actual cookie. When they finished, they used their Chromebooks to take a cookie selfie before enjoying eating their creations.
A Christmas tradition for first grade students, the Potato Santa Parade was held just before Christmas break. For the fun STEAM project that encourages creativity and craftsmanship, each student makes a unique Santa Claus by using a potato as a base. Students parade throughout campus to visit other classrooms to share their festive creations, posing for photos with siblings.
Kindergarten students enjoyed an author’s celebration in recognition of completing their first unit of narrative writing. The students are writing and illustrating books which they then read to their classmates.
While reading To Kill a Mockingbird, students in English 10 discuss a chapter at their tables and generate their top two thoughts, questions, or epiphanies (TQEs). They transfer these to the board and then use the TQEs for whole class discussion. The class is taught by Mrs. Molly Matthews.
Wilson Hall participated in the eSteam Sumter Festival, a family festival celebrating and bringing together enthusiasts in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math. The Wilson Hall exhibit highlighted the school’s 3D printing, engineering & robotics classes. Members of Key Club volunteered for the festival which has the purpose of exposing participants to STEAM through interactive exhibits, fun filled displays and hands-on activities.
While learning about fire safety, the Preschool 3 class welcomed members of the Sumter Fire Department to campus. The firefighters taught the students how to listen for a fire alarm, crawl out of the house and go to a meeting place, and dial 911. Students also enjoyed a fire truck scavenger hunt and sitting inside the truck. During the week the students painted with smoky paint, learned how to look for an exit, and practiced how to stop, drop and roll.
As a science project, Preschool 3 students made elephant toothpaste. They learned about mixing red & yellow to make orange, and how combining warm water with yeast and adding it to hydrogen peroxide creates a growing reaction.
As part of the River Valleys Unit in the 6th Grade History class taught by Mrs. Laura Burleson, students write in the ancient languages of the Nile River (Hieroglyphics) and Tigris Euphrates River (Cuneiform).
While studying the letter D, preschool 3 students conducted a taste-test of donuts, determining if they like powdered sugar or chocolate covered the best. The activity was also used as a math lesson as they counted how many students like each type of donut.
In their Google Applications class taught by Mrs. Emma Ayres, sixth grade students created restaurant menus using skills they learned with Google Docs. The cafeteria staff chose the winning menu and the class enjoyed the dessert from the menu as a special treat.
As a STEAM project, students in the Seventh Grade Literature class play games they made based upon their summer reading books of choice.
To conclude their week studying the letter B, preschool 3 students enjoy chasing bubbles on the playground.
As a STEAM project, students in the 7th grade literature class collaborate on understanding characterization in their summer reading books of choice.
Juniors and seniors in the Honors Anatomy class practice mapping body region terminology during a STEAM activity.
While learning about the letter A, preschool 3 students discussed items that begin with the letter as well as participated in a STEAM activity. They each tasted a red apple and a green apple and decided which they preferred, then counted the number for each.
Sophomores in the AP U.S. History class collaborate on an American History Image Challenge for their first class of their first full day of school. The students were tasked with identifying 15 images representing notable events in our nation’s history and then placing them in chronological order.
During a unit about the cardiovascular system, students in the Honors Anatomy class learn to take blood pressure with a sphygmomanometer and stethoscope.
The first AP Combine—similar to the NFL Combine—was one of the final training exercises before the Advanced Placement English Language students take their College Board AP Exam Tuesday. The Combine was designed to give the students practice at making quick mind shifts and using varying skills needed to write three different essays in a timed format. In between using their AP writing skills, the students had fun assignments to mark the change of task, such as skipping backwards on the track, doing cartwheels and lunges on the football field, and carrying beans on a spoon. The students are taught by Mrs. Molly Matthews.
As a STEAM project, kindergarten students observed the butterfly life cycle in their classrooms with their own caterpillars. Students watched as the caterpillars formed cocoons before emerging into butterflies, and after their wings dried they were released on campus. Students illustrated the life cycle’s phases, enjoying special snacks representing each of the phases.
From observing eggs in an incubator to the chicks hatching, four-year-old preschool students learn about the life cycle of a chicken as a STEAM activity.
Sara Helen Simmons ‘25, one of 20 students in the Advanced Placement (AP) Seminar class taught by Mrs. Molly McDuffie & Mrs. Stacey Reaves, delivers her Individual Multimedia Presentations for the College Board. Complementing her presentation was a 2,000-word Individual Written Argument. The class, part of the AP Capstone Diploma Program, develops students’ skills in research, analysis, evidence-based arguments, collaboration, writing, and presenting.
Wilson Hall is the only school in the area approved by the College Board to offer the AP Capstone Diploma Program. The program is based on two, yearlong AP courses: AP Seminar and AP Research. Students who complete the two-year program can earn one of two different AP Capstone awards which are valued by colleges across the United States and around the world. Only 38 schools in South Carolina offer the program and Wilson Hall is one of only five private schools in the state to offer it. Wilson Hall will offer 23 AP courses, the most of any school in the area.