Science, technology, engineering, arts, and math can easily be threaded into other subjects. Yes,I said STEAM. I included the A. For those of you who doubt the necessity of an A, when have you ever gravitated towards an ugly car when selecting a new vehicle? Or a house that looks bad from the outside when choosing a new home? If you can’t embrace art as the A, how about substituting the work aesthetics? Every design should at least be aesthetically pleasing. Whether designing a prototype, a new bridge, or a new building people inherently drawn to designs that are aesthetically pleasing to them. So ignoring the A is not a good idea. I would hope we can agree that teaching the principles of design might be of advantage to our students as they prepare presentations, and create products throughout all of their educational endeavors.
“The United States has developed as a global leader, in large part, through the genius and hard work of its scientists, engineers, and innovators. In a world that’s becoming increasingly complex, where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with what you know, it’s more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information…” -PA Dept of Education
Emphasis has been placed on the need for more STEAM in schools due to a shortage of employees to fill the ever increasing science, technology, engineering and math career fields. How do we interest our learners in careers they have no existing knowledge of at this point in their school careers?
“Economic projections point to a need for approximately 1 million more STEM professionals than the U.S. will produce at the current rate over the next decade if the country is to retain its historical preeminence in science and technology.”
-President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
We need to begin integrating STEAM lessons into our existing curriculum. Are you teaching a lesson on the Industrial Revolution? Why not take that lesson a step further and allow the students to not only explore the products and people responsible for this time in history, but allow them to create their own products and services and market them. This extension will allow for math, art, engineering, and potentially science. Our 8th grade students created their own products and marketed them with videos. Here are some examples of their final projects:
What about ELA? It’s really hard to pull science and technology into reading, isn’t it? No. The answer is it’s not all that big of a stretch and it’s being done routinely in some schools. Have you just finished a great book? Why not design a structure, tool, or device that could have solved the character’s problem and changed the plot of the story? Why not design a recycled material totem pole that shares the journey of your main character? High School ELA teacher and blogger, Ashley Million Bible, offers a great blog on STEAM in the secondary ELA classroom which can easily be scaffolded for our youngest learners. Check it out here.
Caine’s Arcade is another awesome example of how allowing children access to materials, time to tinker, and encouraging thinking outside the box can lead to amazing creations engineered by learners young and old. Recently a team of math teachers approached my about a probabilty project for collaboration. We discussed how we could use ideas from Caine’s arcade to encourage students to create their own probability based games and then allow visitors to the probability fair to analyze the probability of winning each game they visit and play.
How have you integrated STEAM concepts into your instruction this year? If you haven’t here is a great video that might help you to motivate yourself and your students to begin thinking outside of the box.