Why, as a 21st century educator, should I be interested in STEAM?
A STEAM approach allows and challenges us to:
- Develop habits of mind that inspire students to think critically and creatively to solve real-world problems.
- Engage students from preschool through college in inquiry-based learning.
- Excite students about pursuing STEM careers by integrating technology, art and engineering into existing science and mathematics curriculum while developing technical and personal skills.
- Prepare students for real life challenges by providing opportunities to ask questions, collaborate, communicate, and critique through core standards, including the Arts.
- Develop teaching methods to improve student engagement, understanding and application of content knowledge from a multidisciplinary, reality-based perspective.
- Emphasize the wonder of art and science as human endeavors.
So, what does STEAM look like here in SFUSD?
Here are a few examples of the work, investigations, creativity, and play happening in our district:
- At Herbert Hoover Middle School, STEAM teacher Jacob Aringo’s classes designed “Mighty Towers” - earthquake resistant structures out of tetrahedrons. They also created Rube Goldberg Machines, online games and actual miniature amusement parks.
- At Abraham Lincoln High School & Thurgood Marshall High School, Physics teachers Greg Calac and Helen Lee had students demonstrate and apply their understanding of resonance and sound waves by creating their own musical instruments.
- At Paul Revere K-8, Cynthia Vasquez, guided her pre-K students in an exploration of “Things That Roll (or don’t roll)” by physical investigations, song, marble paintings and story-telling.
In addition, the Arts Integration Specialist, Kim Campisano, works through the STEM - Science team in collaboration with various departments of the Division of Curriculum and Instruction (VAPA, Multilingual, STEM, ELA/Humanities) to identify or develop following Strategies and Structures:
- Interdisciplinary instructional frameworks that support authentic learning experiences for all students.
- Study Groups and Unit Design around Topics, Themes and/or Practices that overlap Subjects and Disciplines and that are relevant to more than one discipline.
- (Patterns, Observations, Scale, Cause and Effect, Argumentation & Reasoning, Sketching, Notebooking, etc.) Ongoing Authentic Assessments with embedded rich academic discourse.
- Model Sites (E.S., M.S., H.S.), whose specific structures, demands, and opportunities might help us to adapt and scale up in the future.
- Input on revision of Math Project Units and development of Science Core Curriculum as well as other immersive learning experiences.
- Career exploration and partnerships with community organizations and agencies.
- Support and share best STEAM practices.
- http://www.sfusdscience.org/steam.html - SFUSD's STEAM website that includes our district's guiding principles for STEAM education.
- http://steamconnect.org/ - A grassroots organization based in San Diego that provides STEAM resources and best practices to further the STEM and STEAM movements across the US.
- http://www.artofsciencelearning.org/what-its-about/ - National Science Foundation-funded initiative that uses the arts to spark creativity in science education and the development of an innovative 21st Century STEM workforce.
- http://www.edutopia.org/stem-to-steam-resources - A list of resources targeted at making the transition from STEM into STEAM.
- http://www.edutopia.org/blog/stem-to-steam-strengthens-economy-john-maeda - An article about the importance of STEAM from the president of RISD.
- Using Exhibits as Assessment - A video that shows students at a museum magnet school creating exhibits as a quarterly assessment.