STEAM education helps students from different perspectives to understand the link between different disciplines to improve their comprehensive use of knowledge to solve practical problems.
The acronym stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. STEAM education brings together the creative and scientific processes. Both are about exploration of ideas and possibilities. Both have a “process” and “product” aspect to them. In both, students engage in creative and critical thinking that supports collaborative learning.
Economic projections suggest future career opportunities in STEM/STEAM. Companies in a wide array of fields want and need innovative, creative minds.
Everyone from engineers to mathematicians and laboratory scientists can agree. Building great things and solving real problems requires a measure of creativity. Additionally, more and more artists are seeing the benefit of STEM in their work. They are using technological tools and scientific processes for their art.
STEAM education is crucial to prepare the next generation. They will create jobs and grow the economy.
Aldine ISD seeks to increase middle school students’ interest in STEAM. That is why the District is offering a free two-week STEAM Summer Camp. The fun environment gives campers a place to create, explore, learn and make new friends.
This is the second year that the District offers a free STEM summer camp. Last year, the camp targeted elementary students. But this is the first year that the camp incorporates the arts to make it a STEAM event.
Several program directors in science, the arts and magnet schools are working together. They have set out to offer students exciting ways to get hands-on experience. Students will have fun while they learn important STEAM concepts. The arts infuse creativity and interest into a student’s learning process.
“Not all students immediately gravitate to STEM,” said Dr. Micahelann Kelley, director of fine arts. “They need something that sparks their interest. It may be the creative piece that hooks them. We incorporate art to show students the creativity in what they’re doing. We want to inspire their imagination. It allows them to explore their own creative interests. We also give them a better picture of what it means to work in a STEM field. You don’t need to be a scientist or engineer to work in STEM. Companies are also hiring designers and artists to drive innovation.
“STEAM uses design methods to approach STEM subjects creatively. It makes them real–world relevant to all students.”
Students will take part in cross-curricular investigations to increase STEAM learning. Simply put, educators and students take information and use art and play. This reinforces students’ ability to understand something. It is another way to help students with different learning styles. Cross-curricular teaching is a growing trend in education. And one that Aldine has been using for years.
The goal of this integrated learning strategy is to ensure students have fun. At the same time, students gain a deeper understanding of concepts.
Object-based learning encourages research. It fosters close observation and critical analysis. These are skills both artists and scientists share in common.
“STEAM increases learning,” said Olivia Boatner, program director of magnet schools. “The interdisciplinary model helps students become better engineers. How? They learn how to think artistically. We also engage artists in STEM fields. In STEAM, creativity is key. It addresses through real–world projects why the STEM subjects should matter to everyone.”
Aldine ISD teachers will lead the lessons and activities during the eight-day camp. Students will have fun working and playing during hands-on, student-centered activities.
The STEAM Summer Camp targets students entering sixth, seventh or eighth grade in fall 2017. Each AISD intermediate school has 30 slots for campers. Middle schools have 15 slots. Due to space, the maximum number of students accepted into the camp is 480. Organizers will fill seats on a first to apply, first to serve basis.
For more information, contact Olivia Boatner at [email protected] or by phone at (281) 985-6559.
Alternative & Renewable Energy
Want to learn about energy sources and how to think green? Students will learn about energy sources and how to think green. They will investigate alternative energy strategies. Using Snap Circuits Green® products, students will also build projects. This will increase understanding of these systems.
Get into the flow by learning what electricity is and what circuits are. Students will explore these and more as they use Snap Circuits® to build and test circuits. They will discover that learning electronics is easy and fun!
Students will get to use Pixie software to create pictures! Students will learn to use their creativity to share ideas, imagination, and understanding. They will create a “portrait” of Texas through a combination of text and images.
Dance + Physical Science
“Force” and “energy” are concepts taught in both subjects. Learning force and energy through dance makes the concepts more concrete. This contributes to greater retention and understanding.
Students get a chance to have a superhero persona. They will design a digital illustration. Students will use Comic Life to create and design original stories. They will discover how they communicate through the artful use of text and images. They will enjoy learning the principles, grammar and fluency of visual storytelling.
Students will use their creativity along with tech skills to create stunning photographs. Students will learn about photography, how to use digital cameras, and explore software. They will learn about size relationships, effects of light and dark, color, shape and form.
Engineering: Mechanics & Structures
This will challenge students to learn about simple machines and how they help us do work. K’NEX Simple Machines activities introduce students to the scientific concepts. They will also build a few simple machines.
Students will also learn about the Greek philosopher Plato. They will use Zometool Plato’s Perfect Shapes. The activity will teach students about three-dimensional solids known as the Platonic Solids. Students will learn what makes the shapes special and the relationship between these. They will also build the five solids — tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron and icosahedron.
Leadership Through the Art of Persuasion
Students will learn the skills to persuade effectively. These are skills they can use in a sales pitch to prospective investors or in the boardroom. The students will learn about four simple steps to win the persuasion game. These include establishing credibility, finding common ground, providing evidence and connecting emotionally. They will design compelling pitches. They will also learn about first impressions and professional presence. Rounding the session, they will learn how to craft messages that “stick” and closing the deal.
Percussion: The Science of Sound and Musical Instruments (Physics)
Catch a wave! Did you know that engineers use pitch and frequency in the design of new products? Yes, they do! Students in the session will gain a better understanding of sound energy. They will learn about waves, frequency and pitch through musical instruments.
Robotics and Control Technology
Students will discover the exciting world of robots! Teachers will introduce students to robotics, engineering and programming. Students will use Legos® WeDo Robotics to build and program their own robots. The hands-on activities will have students using language, math, science and technology.
Scientific Data and Analysis
Students will learn about the scientific method using Vernier Science kits. They will collect and analyze data. Students will use digital sensors and software that measure light, motion, force and temperature. In some cases, the class will have ways to extend the inquiry-based learning.
Software Engineering (aka Coding/Programming)
Computer programming is an in-demand skill. Kodu is a free game-making app. It introduces students to coding in a fun experience. They will create a video game via a simple visual programming language. Aside from coding, Kodu teaches creativity, problem solving and storytelling.
Visual Arts: Blending Art & Science
Channel your inner Michelangelo! The curriculum has students learn scientific concepts. They will then express what they learned through art. This can lead to deeper understanding and spark innovation or improve processes.
Voice: Learning Scientific Concepts Through Song
The engaging approach has students sing about scientific concepts. While students have fun, they develop a deeper comprehension. Some studies show song can help students remember concepts better. It can also make science more accessible to a broader range of students.
Economic projections suggest future career opportunities. The STEM Jobs: 2017 Update issued by the Office of the Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration predicts growth as well. Projections show STEM occupations to grow by 8.9 percent from 2014 to 2024. That is in contrast to non-STEM jobs. Projections show a 6.4 percent growth in these areas. The recent report also shows that STEM workers command higher wages. They earn 29 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts in 2015.
STEM jobs are on the rise. And there is a demand to fill these positions. NASA, for example, seeks to increase student interest in STEM as the space agency aspires to man a mission to Mars by the 2030s. That means it will need experts to accomplish the mission.
Currently, the U.S. is struggling to get students to pursue STEM careers. When children enter a U.S. high school, one in four has an interest in STEM. Only 4 percent of bachelor degrees in the U.S. were awarded in engineering as opposed to 31 percent in China.
STEAM education is crucial to prepare the next generation. They will create jobs and grow the economy.
Those at the forefront of innovation have been merging arts and science practice.
One study focused on STEM graduates. It tracked those who successfully opened their own businesses or filed for patents. The study showed a clear pattern. They were eight times more likely to have been exposed to the arts as children than the average person.
The arts and creativity are crucial to STEM learning and careers. The “A” in STEAM includes technical writing. This is a hard skill. Writing a cohesive lab report not only incorporates data. Effectively and correctly analyzing data requires strong technical skills. In many fields, writing is an art. Another example to consider is mechanical engineering. It requires creativity and the results are feats of art. These works require thoughtful and practical mechanical design as well as functional design.
The arts and sciences concepts often overlap. For example, reading music involves fractions. Theater set design requires measurement, geometric shapes and spatial reasoning.
In some schools across the country, they use the arts as a method to interpret, present and share work. Students can draw, dramatize and dance. They can compose music. These are methods of sharing their learning in math and science. The arts can also serve as an assessment tool for STEM learning. Students can articulate their learning in a STEM subject through the arts. For example, they can use geometric concepts in a drawing. Or they can show patterns in music. These can be an engaging and powerful approach to learning.
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