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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

STEAM Analyzed

Last year I made greater effort to employ a STEAM lab for students' benefit. The effort definitely exceeded the efforts from the year before, but there's definitely still room for growth.

What was accomplished?

We created a decent maker station in the back of the room with many tools and resources including lots of great recyclables. We engaged in two mostly successful efforts including the Cardboard Challenge and Marble Maze Simple Machine Exploration. The projects profited from the use of a class Science website as well. The approach was blended using hands-on activities, technology, field studies, and expert visitors.

Next year I'll work alone and with students and colleagues to improve the effort in the following ways.
  1. We'll begin the year with a focus on the TEAM in STEAM with activities, discussion, reading, and films.
  2. I'll better organize the Maker Station.
  3. During the summer, I'll make prototypes of some projects and organize a plan for the roll-out of the STEAM center efforts. I'll leave plenty of room in the roll-out for student voice, interest, and passions as well. 
  4. I may start a STEAM club to enlist the help of a small group of interested students to help me out with this effort one day after school each week. This will depend on the teaching/learning schedule and system-wide goals set. 
  5. I'll work with students to establish protocols for positive use of the Maker Station.
  6. Every student will have about one hour a week to work in the STEAM lab. We'll try to build in additional time as the year moves forward and as we integrate our learning in other subject areas with STEAM study.
  7. I'll incorporate the system-wide ideas and efforts into the classroom work as well. Our system is spending time this summer focusing on this work. 
  8. I want to incorporate our grade-level naturalist/ecosystem work into STEAM too. Our team plans to write a grant proposal to access funds to support this. 
I'll work away at the preparations during the summer days. If you have other thoughts or ideas for my work in this endeavor, please share.