Unpacking the keys to a Philly school's STEAM success
- Writing for eSchool News, The Shipley School's upper school engineering teacher Chris Fornaro details how the independent K-12 school in suburban Philadelphia built a successful STEAM program.
- Fornaro writes that room to build is especially necessary, with ample maker spaces and clubs to facilitate the infusion of creative-thinking, design and exploration into problem-solving.
- Additionally, collaboration between students and educators and the integration of the maker space into a variety of content areas is crucial, as is gathering student feedback on what works, what doesn't, and what needs and wants exist, he writes.
The infusion of the arts into STEM curriculum is growing in popularity and increasingly necessary due to employer demands for graduates with skills imparted by the arts, like the ability to think critically and creatively. And while maker spaces are a sound investment in doing this, the approach also doesn't always require the latest and greatest tech to accomplish. It can be as simple as making students aware of the skills they're learning.
For example, a math lesson that includes a study of patterns could highlight the use of patterns in musical composition, or an engineering or physics lesson can detail how the design of an object necessitates consideration of its functionality. Students could then be tasked with, say, creating their own objects for a lesson on aerodynamics.
Taking advantage of the full range of these opportunities in teaching STEAM may require some creative and critical thinking on the part of educators themselves, but doing so can expand students' horizons not just of the opportunities in STEM fields, but of the many practical uses of the arts in a future career.
- eSchool News 3 winning characteristics of a school STEAM program
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