Thursday, March 3, 2016

Springtime: Full STEAM ahead

A few months ago, I turned to my favorite I set forth on a STEAM Edventure. A goal I set for our school this year was to start a STEAM Fair. I knew this would include things beyond my areas of expertise. I knew that I would have some very excited students. I needed help though. How does one start such a thing? I had previously considered a science fair, but as I shifted into a new role that included more technology, I saw a door opening for something greater than a science fair. I gathered ideas and observed others. Admittedly, I still have a lot to learn. However, we moved forward, full STEAM ahead.

Step one: set a date.
Step two: share the concept with students.
Step three: set up a Google Form for project submissions.
Step four: incorporate it into the curriculum for the middle school level technology classes.
Step five: announce it schoolwide by setting up a Google Site and making the form available.

Paper airplane launcher
The STEAM Fair will take place toward the end of April. First, though, the seventh and eighth grade students are presenting their STEAM projects in their technology classes. They were allowed to choose any area: science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics. A few students have researched artists and are making a technology connection with the use of QR codes and Google Slides presentations. One group constructed a model house. One experimented with water rockets and baking soda rockets. And there is so much more eduawesomeness happening!

The presentations began today.

A group of seventh graders design a printer in Minecraft then
modeled how to print something on it.
A pair of seventh graders designed and constructed a paper airplane launcher. You should see the planes fly!

Rubik's Cube solution expert
What literally brought me tears of joy today was the accomplishment of another seventh graders. He constructed a Rubik's Cube solver out of Legos and programmed it not only to solve the Rubik's Cube, but to also shuffle it into different patterns. He presented today and going in knew that there might be a hiccup and identified possible factors. Watching him in action with his device was nothing short of amazing. He had not yet decided whether or not he would enter it into the STEAM Fair in April. I encouraged him to do so. In fact, I even talked to his dad after school to explain further how wonderful it would be to have his project on display for our school families to see. I sincerely hope that he will submit it for the fair and I will continue to encourage him.

Presentations will continue into next week. In the meantime, I celebrate this STEAM movement happening at our school and the accomplishments of our fabulous students.

#EduAwesome indeed!
This Edventure with STEAM has demonstrated that if you give students a rather open project and freedom with creativity, they can create something #Eduawesome! I simply direct them with tools and continue to facilitate their learning. Coding activities in December have led to coding being incorporated into projects. What? You like something you've done for years with Science Olympiad? That's fantastic! How can you take it to the next level? Some students have developed ideas from things we did in science last year. Some from art class. There is no end to their creativity. All I did was introduce them to the term STEAM and look at them now!

All aboard for the 2016 inaugural STEAM Fair!

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