University School of Jackson


What is STEAM?

Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) is an innovative educational movement that is teaching students how to a be successful in a 21st century economy. Employers, educators and parents have noticed that students thrive in problem-solving, creativity, ingenuity, critical thinking, dialogue and innovation due to these programs.

The University School of Jackson currently participates in the STEAM initiatives below and is actively adding new opportunities for students to learn using this method.

-    Integrating computers, tablets and mobile devices in the classroom
-    Lower school STEAM curriculum  
-    Bring your own device initiatives
-    Robotics instruction 
-    Robotics after school club
-    Emphasis on process-based learning
-    Setting up google email accounts for all students 4th grade and up

STEAM activities require students to ask thoughtful questions and problem solve creatively. This process starts at design and is carried all the way through to implementation. Students learn how to step away from problem solving in a methodical step-by-step way and embrace trial and error.

Activities often require students to work in groups to solve a problem using the strengths of different members of the group and letting everyone bring something to the table. 

Today’s career path is rapidly changing and USJ is preparing students to excel in a fluid environment that requires them to think for themselves and grow in innovation. Students are pushed beyond text book answers and are taught how to explore concepts that can’t be looked up on the internet. 

This curriculum is giving students the tools that they need to be innovators in whatever field they choose to pursue.



The Lower School STEAM Lab is a space for exploring, making, failing, fixing and trying things in a different way. Students are encouraged to take on unfamiliar and challenging projects in teams as they utilize their critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills. Projects include the following:

-    Coding on Code-A-Pillars (Kindergarten), Ozobots (1st-5th) & Dash and Dots (3rd-5th)
-    Computer programming 
-    Robotics
-    Lego robotics
-    3D Printers
-    3D Pens
-    Engineering design & buildouts 
-    Google classroom
-    Scratch coding summer camps


Meet the Instructors

Heidi McDaniel

Heidi McDaniel is the lower school technology teacher.

She has two children (Michael & Maggie) and one grandchild (Matthew). Matthew is currently enrolled at The University School of Jackson. She received a degree in elementary education from Lambuth University.

Her hobbies include reading, traveling and spending time with family.

Kyle Hopper

Kyle Hopper is the director of technology at the University School of Jackson. 

He is from Jackson, Tennessee and has two children, Aria & Jace. He is from Scotts Hill, TN and received a degree in computer science from the University of Memphis. 

Click the thumbnail below to launch gallery.

For More Information

Heidi McDaniel
Lower School Technology, Registrar

[email protected]


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