6 Tips to Integrate STEAM in Your Learning Environment

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have become an integral part of discovery, innovation and technological advances. But what about STEAM — science, technology, engineering, ARTS and mathematics? Many argue that the skills gained through the arts are just as valuable as technical skills. In fact, employers, educators and parents have voiced that an understanding of the arts is critical for the future success of learners. Students who are exposed to the arts learn to build connections between subjects and visualize solutions, because STEAM is much more than adding coloring sheets.

As STEAM continues to gain momentum across the country, educators are tasked with finding ways to better incorporate arts into their program. Whether you’re looking to fully adopt STEAM or for ways to supplement traditional teaching methods, a STEAM program is a perfect solution! Check out these 6 tips that can help you integrate STEAM in your learning environment.

1. Quality Support

Whether you’re ready to fully integrate STEAM across all curriculum or simply want to create STEAM learning opportunities whenever possible, it’s imperative that you have the support needed to achieve this dream! Gather support from every level by building relationships with fellow educators, parents, administration and vendors who can help you accomplish your goals. You may be surprised by the number of experts you have within reach! Invest as much time in building these relationships as you will during the development of your STEAM program.

2. Be Adaptable

As you begin incorporating STEAM in your learning space, you might find that some things just don’t work — and that’s ok! Life happens and even with the simplest solutions and the best of intentions, things just don’t go as planned. When these things happen, look at it as an opportunity for you to learn with your students. Being adaptable will allow you to make adjustments that ultimately adds value to the experience for you and your learners. As your students dive into the program and explore the diverse subject areas, they’ll have the opportunity to critically think and problem-solve on their own. As they learn independently, their projects may not go the way they envisioned and they may feel discouraged. Embrace their failures just as you would their success and reassure them that it’s ok it didn’t work out. Take time to ask them questions to help them better understand the problem — “What went wrong?” “What can you do differently?” Together you’ll arrive at better solutions.

3. 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! Do your research, tap into community resources, register for webinars and network with groups who are on the same mission you are on. Integrating STEAM into your learning environment can include simple solutions with products like the ones PCS Edventures offers or more complex ones that require some training. In any case, take the time to familiarize yourself with the materials beforehand.

4. Integrate the Technologies your Students are Actively Interested In

What you choose to incorporate in your STEAM program is entirely up to you, but incorporating more of what your students are interested in is a great way to boost excitement and keep them engaged! Introduce modern tech and materials your learners want to interact with. Typewriters are cool, but that mini drone they can program to fly specific missions is much cooler. With so many pieces of technology surrounding students now more than ever, find what works for them. Here are 5 Reasons to Integrate Technology in your program that not only benefit your students but create an environment that gets them excited to learn!

 

 

 


5. Find Products the Fit Your Needs

Know what you are looking for when it comes to your STEAM program. Do you want to write your own curriculum? Would you prefer something more robust and challenging? Do you care more about easy implementation right out of the box? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you as you are evaluating products on the market. As you begin to incorporate STEAM, ask yourself “Can I reuse this?” Find creative solutions to help keep that budget intact while still accomplishing your goals. Be selective with your options. You’ll want something that is easy to incorporate, can be expanded over time and includes 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 art into your curriculum, our Enrichment Programs are a great starting point! Our Programs are designed to be fun, stimulating, hands-on solutions that cover science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics! With so many subjects to choose from, these programs are the perfect tool to create exciting and engaging activities for students in grades 1-8.


Pirate Camp

Cast-off into the seven seas with STEM experiments, hands-on design trials, social-emotional learning and positive group discussions. Engage student 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

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 it's finest with a multi-subject exploration and reflection of the world's cultures.


6. Create a Feedback Loop

A great STEAM program creates an environment that gets students excited to learn, but the longevity of its success relies on the feedback and constructive criticism from its users. Your students might be the ones in the program, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them! Consider creating anonymous surveys or polls to get their honest feedback that will help you better understand what’s working and what isn’t. Their feedback will give you insight on what their learning experience is like but it will also help you keep track of their needs and interests. Creating a system for feedback from the individuals who are actually engaging with your new program will help you make improvements for continued success.

Taking The Next Step

As you begin to find ways to incorporate STEAM in your learning environment, remember we’re here if you need help! There are so many ways to achieve those STEAM goals, so take your time, do your research and ask for help if you need it. There are so many resources available at your fingertips and we’re happy to help.


Ready to get a jump on STEAM programming?
 Tune into our 2020 STEAM Buying Guide Webinar, where our expert panel of educators and specialists discuss how STEAM has made a difference in their learning environments, how they select quality curriculum and more! Head over to our webinar page to learn more.
 

 

References

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. Retrived 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/

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