Monday, May 18, 2015

S is for STEM

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. According to Mr. Obama,  "... Leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today—especially in science, technology, engineering and math." There is a projected job increase in the areas of STEM, but an inadequate amount of students pursuing careers in this field. And so, we focus on STEM. I have also seen it called STEAM recently which adds Art + Design. I am married to an art teacher so I say STEAM it is!

So I wanted to take some time to share some neat-o STEAM projects a Kindergarten-2nd teacher, Ms. Betsy Brown is doing in her classroom. Their engineering challenge was based on the nursery rhyme Hey Diddle, Diddle. I think it is great that she had her students journal their plan blueprints! Way to add some writing along with that thinking!

  From Ms. Brown-

"PLANNING is a major part of STEM. It's the collaboration part to help them brainstorm what they will construct, what materials they will need, and to help them stay focused.

 I created a journal for them. There was a Plan A page where they drew their blueprint. A Plan B page was included if they got to a point where they realized they needed to make some major changes. 

As to the supplies, one person had the job to come to get the supplies and the other person had the job to make the final presentation. All team members had the opportunity to come see what materials would be available before they decided what instrument they wanted to make. 

Then, in their journal, there was a page that showed all materials available. Some groups just put a check mark beside the materials wanted, some put the quantity of each material they chose to use. Once the teams began their BUILD session, only the materials person was allowed to come to the table or their team would lose points. This helped to keep less movement in the room and made discussions about materials more directed."

I know you want to see the finished and creative projects!

Her kiddos were so proud of their finished products!

This is not related to the activity above per se, but she also had her students listen for sounds. This would be awesome for learning about hearing during a 5 Senses unit!

Way to go, Ms. Brown!! Thank you for letting me share. :)

Thinking about STEAM reminded me of this graphic I recently came across comparing traditional learning/teaching with the modern-day learner/teaching styles. Teachers who keep their students focused seem to use strategies from the right side.

I’m sorry the infographic is blurry, but I wanted to make it large enough for you to be able to read!

I also came across another graphic that reminded me of what best catches and keeps students interested in learning. I hope this helps you some way and gets you thinking about how to implement STEAM into your classrooms.

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