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Thursday, April 02, 2015

STEAM Open House Introduction

STEAMwork is also a bumpy road.!
I will frame family's experience of today's informal STEAM open house with the following words:

The famous inventor, Thomas Edison said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." I'm sure that many students can identify with Edison's words today after embarking on their simple machine marble maze creations.

STEAM is interdisciplinary science, tech, engineering, art, and math blended together.

It's not your old fashion science lesson.

Instead it's an opportunity for students to work independently or with a team to explore, investigate, collaborate, design, create, and learn.

With this open ended exploration comes lots of debate, trial-and-error, success, and failure too--more failure than success.

The big push for STEAM education is that it's real-world mimicking the way that engineers design and create in companies like Google and IDEO. It's the way that true inventors work, and with invention comes frustration too. It's more failure than success, and more and more we recognize that knowing that and building strategy and mindsets to move forward with that knowledge creates students' stamina and willingness to persevere.

So as you look at the projects today, look deeply. Ask these questions as you tease out the learning.
  • What part of your project are you most proud of?
  • What part of your project was most frustrating?
  • Tell me about your project elements?
  • What helped you succeed, and what would have helped you gain greater success?
  • How many times did you test your project?
  • What advice do you have for someone who is doing this project for the first time?
  • How could teachers, parents, and classmates have helped you with this project?
Look around the room. Notice the projects. Notice elements of projects, teams, and individual work that were successful, and notice the challenges classmates faced. Celebrate your success and hard work. This is simply one step more on your STEAM learning path, a path that we'll continue with greater strength due to the learning you've gained with this project. I appreciate your hard work, creativity, stamina, and flexibility--all vital skills for success today and in the future. I'm proud of every child in Team 12/14. I learned a lot too.