Knowing your ROLE
A STEAM project is a well-planned set of activities involving research, design, and experimentation to test a hypothesis. It offers students the opportunity to excel in reading, writing, speaking, listening, mathematics, science, technology, arts, and the social sciences by providing the chance to;
Learn and use the scientific method
Discover several solutions to problems
Learn organizational skills.
Build self-image and improve self-esteem
Learn problem-solving skills.
Improve process skills.
Practice internet research.
Helping Your Child with His or Her STEAM Projects
Realize that the purpose of a STEAM project is to use and strengthen the basic skills the child has learned and to develop higher-level thinking skills.
Help your child understand that science is not just a subject but a way of looking at the world around us
Make sure your child feels it is his or her project. Make sure the project is primarily the work of the child. Make sure he or she stays focused.
Realize that your child may need help in understanding, acquiring, and using the major skills (researching, organizing, measuring, calculating, reporting, demonstrating, experimenting, collecting, constructing, and presenting).
Realize that your child may be using reading, writing, mathematics, and social science skills in a creative way to solve a problem, for the first time.
Help your child understand that a weekend chore, or one or two posters, is not a project.
Find an area in the house where your child can work without concern about pets or brothers or sisters destroying the work.
Purchase or help your child find the necessary materials to complete a project.
When students engage in activities that combine different elements of STEAM, they experience guided inquiry in which they must ask thoughtful questions, discover answers, apply what they learn, and problem-solve creatively. Students learning how to make a wire sculpture that lights up must ask questions about how it works, try out different wiring techniques to get the sculpture to light up, think about the meaning behind their artistic creation, and experience the creative process, going from a design on paper to a tangible, functional object.
Concordia University, Portland
by the room 241 team
Offers meaningful collaboration
Many STEAM projects involve teamwork and thoughtful dialogue in which students exchange ideas and discuss ways to problem-solve. Through these activities, students learn how to divide up responsibilities, compromise, listen to and encourage each other. Some students might approach STEAM with excitement or curiosity, while others might be more timid or apprehensive.
Strategically placing students together in groups can create powerful teams in which students learn how to help each other and figure out how to use their different strengths and skillsets. If students are learning how to create 3D art depicting sea animals, one student might be knowledgeable about aquatic animals, another might be familiar with optical illusions or excited about constructing 3D glasses. Together, their knowledge, enthusiasm, and skillsets can be utilized to help successfully complete the project as a team.
Increases critical thinking
STEAM projects require students to systematically think through problems, applying the information they learn along the way about technology and engineering to figure out the best solutions. Cross-curricular projects also engage different parts of students’ brains so that they are seeing the project through different lenses, focusing on details while also learning to step back and look at the bigger picture.
Provides a unique way to problem-solve
STEAM projects give students a chance to problem-solve in unique ways because they’re forced to use a variety of methods to solve problems that pop up during these types of activities. By experiencing trial and error, learning how to take risks, and figuring out how to really “think outside the box”, students get away from the commonly used approach of applying a known method or formula to solve a set of problems in a step-by-step way. With STEAM, they must solve in more creative, non-linear ways.
Gives all students hands-on learning experiences
While some students grow up in homes in which they are taught how to build and fix things, and are given many manipulatives to do so, others aren’t exposed to these important learning opportunities. STEAM projects give students a chance to engage in hands-on, experiential learning. Students are often using different materials and tools in order to discover how something works, how to build it, and how to fix it. This levels the playing field so that all students acquire these crucial skills, regardless of their gender, socioeconomic status, or race.