Sunday, September 22, 2013

Maker Station/STEAM Share Grant

Our collegial work on our Maker Station/STEAM Grant continues.  We've been researching tools, materials, and processes over the past few days to write this grant.  We'll add the finishing touches tomorrow.

What do we think is important when it comes to this effort?

First, students, in our tech age are hungry for this kind of collaboration and learning.  One boy has been asking me daily when STEAM share will start?

Next, I'm excited about the fact that we've chosen a relatively "dead" teaching time for this invigorating activity as we're planning this grade-level learning exploration and share for Friday afternoons.  Certainly I'd like to schedule this as a daily event, however the standards we're required to teach in order to develop a foundation of essential reading, writing, and math take up most of that time.

After that, I'm really excited that we might be able to start true STEAM exploration at a young age, an age before minds start to close and opportunities narrow.  I'm hoping that we'll inspire some future scientists, mathematicians, artists, tech experts, and engineers.  In particular, I'm excited about reaching out to young girls with this exploration.  The STEAM emphasis provides many inroads to science; avenues that are often not made available to young girls.  I keep thinking about Cornell's School of Human Ecology, a place where interdisciplinary work often takes place to create solutions to world needs and issues.   STEAM supports this kind of thinking and work.

Finally, I look forward to the carrot STEAM will provide for my students who are sneaking Minecraft rather than doing their reading/writing work.  Now I can say, "Hey, Friday is right around the corner, and that will be a time that you and your friends can collaborate with multiple tools to create, innovate, explore, and discover.  Do your skills work now, and then you'll even be stronger at doing what you want to do during Friday STEAM!"  I know this probably doesn't sound wonderful to those outside of the field, but we still do have to shore up those essential skills--skills that some children don't learn easily or gravitate to with zest.

I'm grateful to my colleagues for supporting this effort, and for Ms. Cherwinski (@susan_cherwinski), in particular, who is leading the way with countless hours of STEAM research and exploration.  I'm also grateful to my PLN for supplying me with a multitude of ideas and links that got this effort going last year.  Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed--I hope we get the funding we're looking for, and just think ten years from now our students may return to tell us stories of the amazing STEAM work they're doing as young adults.

Related Posts:
Building Something That Matters
STEAM Labs, Tools, and Play
Full STEAM Ahead