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Wednesday, July 08, 2015

STEAM Lab 2015-2016

Student working on marble maze project
in spring 2015. 
Recently I analyzed last year's STEAM efforts. I also reviewed the teaching/learning expectations for the year ahead. There are three main priorities for the year:
  1. Nurture a supportive, collaborative, and caring class community. 
  2. Foster the development of engaged, facile, fluent, and flexible mathematical thinkers who master the math CCSS. 
  3. Provide an hour-long engaging and inspiring STEAM lab each week for each student group.
While ideally there would be more STEAM time for each child, I'll use what I have, one-hour a week plus a number of project days, field studies, and special events throughout the year, to foster this interdisciplinary, hands-on science, technology, engineering, art, and math study.

One Hour Lab
The pattern for the one-hour lab includes the following:
Link to page.
  1. Challenge/Problem Posed
  2. Hypothesis Created
  3. Project Plans Made
  4. Investigation/Creation
  5. Results Documented
  6. Share
At the start of the year, the STEAM lab will focus on teamwork, protocols, and introduction to the STEAM lab. The lab is a section of the room that stores a large number of materials, some tables, and floor space for exploration and investigation. 

The next layer of STEAM lab investigations will couple closely to our math study. Students will engage in hands-on explorations that extend the understanding of math concepts such as measurement, coordinate grids, graphing, and mapping.

After that, we'll dive into a review of the K-5 science standards with a greater focus on grade 5 standards as outlined on our class science website, Sensational Science

Project Days
I'm hoping that our team can set aside a couple of days every month or two for project/problem base learning activities for the whole grade-level. These would be days when children weave their studies together from all disciplines to work in teams to synthesize knowledge and create. For starters, I would like to set aside days for the following STEAM projects:
Field Studies and Special Events
In addition we will look into planning the following special events and field studies:
  • Building an Endangered Frog Habitat at Drumlin Farm Event
  • Naturalist Exploration at Great Meadows, Concord, MA
  • Visiting Scientist from the Discovery Museum
  • Small Mountain Climb Team Building Event
  • Gillette Stadium STEAM study
Learning in any discipline is limitless. That's why it's important to frame the study with the essential events and efforts. Next, we'll map out the learning and plan the details with regard to the STEAM lab and learning roll out. We want to make this learning time memorable, inspiring, and meaningful to children. That means we have to provide the greater plan with lots of time for student choice and voice too.