Monday, August 8, 2016

What is STEAM?

What exactly is STEAM anyway...and how can it change the way I teach and children learn?  The following explanation is from The Education Closet.

STEAM with Integrity (from The Education Closet)

The pathway to STEAM is exciting, but can also be dangerous without an understanding of what STEAM truly means in both its intention and its implementation.  Like its STEM predecessor, STEAM can stop short of its best manifestation without several core components:
  • STEAM is an integrated approach to learning which requires an intentional connection between standards, assessments and lesson design/implementation
  • True STEAM experiences involve two or more standards from Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and the Arts to be taught AND assessed in and through each other
  • Inquiry, collaboration, and an emphasis on process-based learning are at the heart of the STEAM approach
  • Utilizing and leveraging the integrity of the arts themselves is essential to an authentic STEAM initiative
For further explanation and an abundance of great resources you should visit The Education Closet website!

So, now that I have an idea of what STEAM is, how do I get started?
Sometimes we make things harder than they need to be.  Yes, creating STEAM lessons will take time, collaboration, and planning; but you don’t have to be a scientist, engineer, or math genius to STEAM up your classroom.  You just have to be willing to embrace a growth-mindset, jump in, make mistakes, look for connections among content area, and approach teaching and learning with a sense of curiosity and a willingness to stop and investigate along the way.

Now I’m no STEAM guru, but my reading on this topic has lead me to believe there are STEAM activities, and then there are STEAM classrooms. You can go on Pinterest and find any number of STEAM cool!!  The temptation may be to choose a few experiments or activities to do occasionally, but I think by doing this we may be missing the point of STEAM.  The STEAM initiative calls for us to help children make connections, not in isolation, but every day in all they do. To truly embrace STEAM we need to integrate math, science, reading, etc. so that students can see that no one subject truly exists outside of another. All things are connected and we need to help our students see that!!

I have shared and will continue to share lesson ideas, but I’m still learning and I will make mistakes! Some of my ideas may be great and others may end in complete disaster, but that’s part of the process!!
How do you STEAM up your classroom? Share your ideas in the comments!
STEAM in Early Childhood (List of STEAM resources/info)

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Resources for Early Childhood (NAEYC)

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