STEAM Learning in the Locomotion Lab

Art is a Catalyst in the Locomotion Lab

The Locomotion Lab is a STEAM lab in Chartiers Valley Intermediate School. It was set up through a 2013 STEAM grant that was sponsored by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit's Center for Creativity. The Locomotion Lab is a learning environment that centers on art to provide hands-on experiences and a creative means to teach science, technology, and above all creativity to elementary level students. Students have the opportunity to make do-it-yourself projects in screen printing, graphic design, robotics and recycled art. Each facet of the Locomotion Lab can be explored individually or combined depending on the depth of the project. 

A major component of the Locomotion Lab is Arts & Bots. Students in third, fourth, and fifth grade have used Hummingbird kits to unleash their inner maker through robotics. Students made robots to welcome spring, recycle materials, and animate animal habitats. During the upcoming school year all fifth grade students at Chartiers Valley Intermediate School will work in collaborative teams to design robots that can make art.

The Locomotion Lab was designed and run by the art teacher at Chartiers Valley Intermediate School, Mrs. Mary Mastren-Williams. The premise for using art as a catalyst in STEAM learning was an answer to a call from employers for a need of creativity in their employees. Using art to design and solve problems in a STEAM lab prepares our students for 21st century skills at an early age.

“What I love about Arts & Bots is that not only are we incorporating 21st century skills such as robotics and coding into all curricular areas, visual art is and the design process are being incorporated as well. Open any education book and you will read art and making are a catalyst in learning.”


-Blog post submitted by Mary Mastren-Williams, art teacher from Chartiers Valley Intermediate School