Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Essential Engineering Process

Welcome back to my series on STEAM.  To read the first two posts you can click the links below.
What is STEAM?
5 Components of an Effective STEAM lesson
Ah the E in STEAM, the Engineering Process, to me this is the most integral and essential piece of STEAM.  Science, Technology, Arts and Math are all options to pull in but the heart of STEAM lies with Engineering.
As I mentioned in my 5 Components of an Effective STEAM lesson the engineering process is essential.
I like to introduce the Engineering Process with a book (I am an ELA girl at heart), Rosie Revere, Engineer. The book is about a little girl who loves to invent crazy gadgets and gizmos. She collects "stuff" to make her creations, one day she makes her uncle a hat which he says he loves but he laughs at it and it hurts Rosie's feelings so she hides her inventions away until one day when her Aunt Rose comes to visit.  Will Rosie be able to create a flying machine for her aunt?  Or will she give up? I absolutely LOVE this book, it actually made me cry the first time I read it because it is my middle child to a T! He is my inventing, junk collecting, tinker!  You may have a "Rosie" in your life or classroom!  
Click on the picture to go straight to put it in your cart on Amazon! (Affiliate link)
We read the book and do all of the great ELA activities I created to go with it!  These are just three of them! There are several more including sequencing, beginning, middle, end, a Venn Diagram and more!

Then we start talking about the engineering process!  How engineers solve problems and they create solutions and test them out and then make them even better!!! The kids really get it using this book! I have included and Engineering Invention planning guide for you to use with your students as well! It really gets them thinking about the Engineering Process and Inventions.

We also do our first STEAM challenge after reading this book.  The challenge is to create a "Flying Machine" just like Rosie does in the book.
If you would like to grab this Reader Response Unit to introduce the engineering process you can click the picture below.

This really sets the tone for the year with our STEAM lessons including the Engineering Process and using a Growth Mindset all year long!

I have the Engineering Process up on our STEAM bulletin board as well.

to grab it and the other STEAM posters click the picture below!


Be sure to check back soon for another STEAM post! Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, March 4, 2017

5 Components of an Effective STEAM Lesson and a freebie!


Welcome back to my series on STEAM! If you missed the first post What is STEAM? Check it out HERE.

Has your school or district gone full steam (pun intended) ahead with STEM or STEAM but isn't providing training or a framework for what exactly makes for an effective lesson?


Well that is where my district is currently by requiring summer school courses to be STEAM based. Sadly, this seems to be a common problem for districts.  

 What I am sharing with you is from a Professional Development I did for my district on STEAM.  It is five components of an effective STEAM lesson.  These are the five components you should STRIVE for in a STEAM lesson.  However if it doesn't include all five you can still do the lesson to begin to infuse STEAM.

There are 5 components of an effective STEAM lesson


STEAM lessons should always be working to solve a problem.  There should also be criteria to meet.  Criteria is anything students must include in the final project.


STEAM lessons should always use the flexible engineering design process.  This allows students to approach the task with a clear plan and look for solutions.  The steps may vary slightly based on grade level or what resource you use.  The Engineering design process is essential to STEAM. It is the only letter that should ALWAYS be included!
To learn more about the Engineering Process check out the next post in this series.


STEAM lessons should generally be partner or team activities.  The students should always be provided with materials to create something (a solution) whether real or digital.  The lessons should not have a “right” answer or a “correct” solution. The more open ended the better!


STEAM lessons should always have a science or math objective. Include meaningful vocabulary, ELA, social studies & art standards where appropriate.  Math and science are often related so both will usually appear in STEAM lessons. This is excellent for students to see that they are not isolated subjects but they and other subjects often work together to solve problems.


STEAM lessons should allow for redesign and reflection.  Redesign is SO important for students. The first product engineers create is never their final product so why would we expect students to do this?  Build redesign into your STEAM lessons by including it as a step and or saying ”ok you have 30 minutes until we test so you can redesign”.  Students should also be allowed to reflect on the entire process. This can be written, as a presentation (video etc.) or simply turn and talk to a partner.

If you have made it this far CONGRATS!!! I hope this helps in planning an effective STEAM lesson!  And I have something to help you even more.............

A FREEBIE! 
Click HERE to go to my TPT store for the freebie to help you both evaluate STEAM lessons you find and a guide for planning your own! You can also click on the picture below.


Forever Freebie STEAM, STEM Lesson Evaluation Lesson Plann
This includes an evaluation for lessons you might already have to see if they are meeting the STEAM components and also an area for you to plan ways to help add the missing components. There is also a lesson planner to use when planning a STEAM lesson.





Saturday, February 25, 2017

What is STEAM? - Getting Started with STEAM Series

Welcome to my series on STEAM!  This is the first in a series of blog posts that were originally a PD presentation for my district. I have turned them into a series of blog posts to reach teachers who are searching for help with STEAM!  With so many schools going FULL STEAM (pun intended) ahead into the STEM, STEAM world it's important that we know what exactly it is we are doing and that it's not just an acronym or buzz word we throw around!

I was introduced to STEM when I was one of the teachers who previewed the Next Generation Science Standards before they were released to the public.  I have been using STEM challenges for 4+ years so I was asked to lead my school's STEAM team.  We then had a build your own PD day put on by 4 schools in our district with teachers presenting on different topics and I was asked to present on STEAM. 
STEAM is an acronym standing for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.
Let's briefly look at each of these.
You probably already have a dedicated science time in your day, this is a great time to do STEAM activities or lessons because science is a natural part of STEAM and an easy part to incorporate into lessons!  With the introduction of the NGSS or Next Generation Science Standards, STEAM is easier than ever to incorporate! For NGSS Checklists click HERE.
I LOVE that this doesn't mean just computers, ipads, and more screens!!!!
The engineering process is VITAL to STEAM and is a heavy focus of the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) if your district has adopted those take a look at them for STEAM ideas!  I will do an ENTIRE blog post on the Engineering Process! - Stay tuned!
The Rhode Island school of design is leading the way to integrate the Arts into STEM creating STEAM.  You can read more about it HERE.  My district chose STEAM so that's what I am doing.  Designing is part of the engineering process so it is very easy to weave the arts at least visual into STEM.  The STEAM initiative takes a stronger approach including music, theater and visual/graphic arts.
Math often tags along with Science but you can focus your STEAM lesson on Math if you wish!  As with Science you probably already have a dedicated Math time in your day, this again is an excellent time to do a math focused STEAM lesson.  Ideally you could have your science and math times back to back and plan your STEAM activities for then.
STEM initiatives have been around since Sputnik, with the launch of Sputnik the US created NASA & an increase in Science, Math, & Engineering across America.  Since then the nation has had a focus on education in those areas. Technology has also grown rapidly. The acronym STEM was introduced in 2001 replacing METS which stood for the same thing. The Rhode Island School of Design began an initiative to have the Arts added to create STEAM which was included in the latest education bill. 

Implementing STEAM is easy, you can start very small such as posters and STEM challenges that you can find on Pinterest!
These are the posters I use in my classroom.
I just put up STEM to start. Next year I will switch to STEAM.
This is my entire Science bulletin board. I have the STEM posters on the right and Scientific Method on the left. In the middle I put anchor charts that we create on our current topic.
You can get the STEM posters HERE.  The set includes A and R as well as a banner and Engineering Process Posters.

Try adding a STEAM extension to a Science activity such as my Peeps Science Activities with STEAM extension.  They are in my TPT store. Click on the picture below to go to my store.
In the next post I will be sharing the 5 components of an effective STEAM lesson, be sure to check back next Saturday!