6 Tips to Integrate STEAM in Your Learning Environment

6 Tips to Integrate STEAM in Your Learning Environment

Science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) have become an integral part of discovery, innovation and technological advances. As STEAM continues to gain momentum across the country, educators are tasked with finding ways to incorporate it into their instruction.

How do you get started with this considerable, yet rewarding task? Whether you’re looking to fully adopt STEAM or for ways to supplement traditional teaching methods, a STEAM program is a perfect solution. Read on to discover 6 tips to help you successfully incorporate STEAM.

Let’s explore two PCS Edventures’ Enrichment programs, Pirate Camp and Traveling Artist, and how they can be used to easily integrate STEAM into your learning environment.

Cast-off into the seven seas with STEM experiments, hands-on design trials, social-emotional learning and positive group discussions. Engage learners' senses, curiosity and creative thinking skills, then challenge them to collaborate by forging catapults, fashioning maps to hidden treasure and reflecting on their adventures! In Pirate Camp, action, intrigue and discovery await you at every turn!

Traveling Artist, grades 4-6

Survey the history of art by experimenting with the artistic traditions of the world. Whether you're carving totem poles in the Pacific Northwest or crafting Aztec masks in the heart of Mexico, get ready to take creative thinking and cultural awareness head-on by examining the STEAM processes that make art possible. Developed with the help of local artists, Traveling Artist embodies STEAM learning at its finest with a multi-subject exploration and reflection of the world's cultures.

Let’s get started! With these 6 tips, you can integrate STEAM into your instruction with confidence and ease.

1. Seek Out Quality Support

Much like the STEAM challenges given to learners, implementing a new STEAM program requires collaboration and problem-solving. Your goal might be to fully integrate STEAM across all curricula, or maybe it’s to create engaging STEAM learning opportunities whenever possible.

Either way, it’s imperative you have the support needed to achieve your goal. Fellow educators, parents, program directors, administrators and vendors are all resources you should tap into and utilize. You may be surprised by the number of experts within reach. These vital relationships provide feedback, resources, tips and strategies, which are invaluable during the development of your STEAM program. In addition to providing ready-to-use STEAM products, PCS Edventures is eager to provide quality support as you embark on your STEAMventure! Here are a few ways we can help:

  • Follow us on Twitter @PCSEdventures for #TeacherTipTuesday and learn helpful tips and tricks from our experts.
  • Use the chat at the bottom of this site to talk with a STEM Program Specialist and learn about programs that best fit your needs.
  • Subscribe to stay up-to-date with the latest STEAM topics with our STEMpower Blog.
  • Utilize our all-in-one resource instructing How to Plan a STEAM Program.
  • Complimentary product orientations with every complete program purchase.
  • Schedule a free STEAM consultation and product demos.

2. Take the Time to Become an Expert

Airline pilots don’t just hop into the newest plane and take off right away– they need to become experts in the mechanics and the changes first! The same goes for STEAM instructors. It’s important to research, tap into community resources, register for webinars, network with groups, and implement a structured STEAM program. PCS Edventures’ all-inclusive products provide an extensive curriculum to quickly strengthen your STEAM expertise.

For grades 1-3, let’s take a look at how Pirate Camp embeds information that’ll turn you into a STEAM expert in no time! Each lesson includes a comprehensive overview that thoroughly reviews the ins and outs of the lesson. Lessons are set up in a step-by-step format with recommended timing, clear-cut instructions and engaging question prompts.

For grades 4-6, Traveling Artist includes lessons that you can implement with ease. PCS Edventures’ provides explicit background information about that day’s focus. This detailed information assists educators with quickly becoming an expert in the topic.

Both Enrichment Programs include a comprehensive pedagogy around engineering, engagement and feedback. What’s more, we’ve written a daily structure and tips to get started. All necessary materials are listed, organized, and provided. This means you can familiarize yourself with any manipulatives or resources ahead of time.

3. Don’t Fret– Be Adaptable!

As you begin incorporating STEAM in your learning space, you might find that things don’t always go as planned – and that’s okay! Missteps are a valuable learning opportunity. Being adaptable allows you to make adjustments that ultimately add value to the experience for educators and learners alike.

As students dive into the program and explore diverse subject areas, they think critically and independently problem-solve. At some point, their projects may not go the way they envisioned and they may feel discouraged. Teach them to celebrate failures with as much excitement as you would success!

Pirate Camp’s thrilling design challenges create authentic opportunities for learners to adapt and change their plans. For example, students are tasked with building a boat from clay. They test designs by adding metal washes until their boat cannot hold anymore. That’s right – they add metal washes until their boat sinks! But what happens when the boat sinks? Learners adapt! Educators then encourage them to make improvements to their boat so it can carry the most metal washers. Challenges such as this teach that failure is a stepping stone to success.

Learners explore various art mediums in Traveling Artist, many of which might be new to them. During these hands-on activities, they’re given the opportunity to follow steps or create unique designs. In these lessons, educators highlight the importance of making adjustments. Creating art emphasizes the value of adapting – what you originally envisioned has probably transformed into a different final piece. And that new final piece? It’s even more amazing than what you envisioned.

4. Engage Learners with Current Interests

Incorporating learner interests is key to boosting excitement and engagement. PCS Edventures’ programs include a myriad of extension activities and technology learners are eager to interact with.

Our various extension activities keep the enthusiasm going after the lesson has ended. Extensions may focus on a subject area, such as English Language Arts, Math, or Social Studies. At times, they are a challenge or collaborative game. Either way, PCS Edventures provides choices for educators to maximize student interests.

Incorporating technology empowers learners and creates an exciting environment. With so many pieces of technology surrounding students now more than ever, find what works for them. Our blog, 5 Reasons to Integrate Technology in Your STEM Program, dives deeper into the benefits of modern tech. PCS Edventures’ extension activities are a great way to embed technology.

For example, in Traveling Artist, learners view videos and various other multimedia. One lesson captivates learners with a video exploring the world’s rarest pigments housed in the Color Vault at Harvard Art Museum. Viewing the variety of vibrant colors and discovering their origins sparks palpable enthusiasm.

Remember, technology is so much more than computers and gadgets. Our Signature Perfect Bricks are an amazing tool to excite learners. Pirate Camp brilliantly utilizes this piece of technology as learners build pirate ships, rafts, catapults and more! Check out our blog, The Many Uses of Build Bricks, and discover the numerous benefits of our bricks.

5. Find Products that Fit Your Needs

Think about what you’re looking for when it comes to your STEAM goals. Would you prefer something...

  • robust and challenging?
  • easy to implement?
  • cross-curricular?
  • collaborative and hands-on?

PCS Edventures’ ready-to-go programs check all the boxes! They’re easy to incorporate, can be expanded over time and include options to take the program to more advanced levels.

Whether you’re ready to go full STEAM ahead or you’re just looking for ways to incorporate more activities into your curriculum, our Enrichment Programs are a great starting point. These all-inclusive programs help you easily create A Year of STE(A)M Enrichment in your learning environment.

Our products are designed to be fun, stimulating, hands-on solutions that cover science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics! With so many subjects to choose from, they are the perfect tool to create exciting and engaging activities for students in grades 1-8.

Do you have older learners? Don’t worry! We have products that are a perfect fit! View our online collection where you can select filters to find programs that meet your criteria. Or, you can download our digital catalogs, consult a STEM Program Specialist or call us at (800) 429-3110 to review your options.

6. Create a Feedback Loop

Your students might be the ones in the program, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them! Creating a system for feedback from the individuals engaging with your STEAM program helps you make improvements for continued success. Their feedback gives you insight into what their learning experience is like and helps you keep track of their needs and interests.

Consider creating anonymous surveys or polls to get honest feedback and help you understand what’s working and what isn’t. A great STEAM program creates an environment that gets students excited to learn, but the longevity of its success relies on feedback and constructive criticism from its users.

Taking The Next Step:

As you begin to incorporate STEAM in your learning environment, remember PCS Edventures is here if you need guidance! There are numerous ways to achieve your STEAM goals, so take your time, do your research and ask for support. There are plenty of resources available at your fingertips and we’re happy to help.

Free STEAM Activities:

Do you prefer to dip your toes into the world of STEAM before jumping right in? We have the thing for you!

Our Freebie Page offers a variety of activities that are easy to implement! Ranging from challenges, checklists, games and hands-on activities, there is something for every learning environment.

Free Resources

STEAM Topic Webinars:

Tune into our webinars, where our expert panel of educators and specialists discuss various STEM and STEAM topics for a variety of learning environments and more!

Head over to our webinar page to learn more.

Webinar Series

Written by Megan Ogawa on 1/23/2020, updated by Marissa Rosol on 1/16/2023.

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Committee On STEM Education. (2018). CHARTING A COURSE FOR SUCCESS: AMERICA’S STRATEGY FOR STEM EDUCATION. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/STEM-Education-Strategic-Plan-2018.pdf

Hernandez, C. (2018). Build Diverse Makerspaces Webinar. Retrieved from https://edventures.com/blogs/webinar-series/building-diverse-makerspaces

IAS Team. (2020). What is STEAM Education? Retrieved from https://educationcloset.com/what-is-steam-education-in-k-12-schools/

Michalson, R. (2019). 5 Reasons to Integrate Tech in Your STEM Program. Retrieved from https://edventures.com/blogs/stempower/5-reasons-to-integrate-tech-in-your-classroom

TeachThought Staff. (2019). 4 Tips for Implementing A STEAM Program in Your Classroom. Retrieved from https://www.teachthought.com/technology/4-tips-for-implementing-a-steam-program-in-your-classroom/

The Room 241 Team. (2018). Full STEAM Ahead! Teacher-Approved Strategies. Retrieved from https://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/classroom-resources/steam-teacher-approved-strategies/