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dusty dusty is offline
 
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Help me understand STEM challenges
Old 11-22-2017, 04:25 PM
 
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It seems like STEM or now STEAM is the big thing now. I see lots of engineering type activities, such as building a bridge with yarn and cups to hold up blocks, or the spaghetti challenge, but I'm having trouble understanding how these types of engineering challenges are considered STEAM? How is an engineering challenge, labeled as STEAM, combining science, technology, arts, and math? I only really see engineering.
thanks for the help


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teach_love teach_love is offline
 
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...by any other name.
Old 12-02-2017, 02:40 PM
 
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I think the "movement" started as a way to combat the cuts of each of these areas within education. It seemed for several years the big push was reading, reading, reading. Everything else was cut or pushed out completely in some schools. The big push for STEM/STEAM began shortly after all the cuts. Not every idea involves every element, with technology seeming to be the forgotten one in primary grades. However, with building a bridge a student has to make mathematical judgments even if they aren't actually using numbers to figure things out. Building in itself is a form of art. Science skills are developed through the understanding of weight, gravity, and so on. If a child uses an app or program to first design then they would be including technology, but like I mentioned above, often the T is the forgotten portion. I know my STEM bins don't really include technology.

STEM/STEAM projects really help students struggle with ideas and figure out how to adjust when what they are attempting fails. It helps build analytical/problem solving skills. Plus it helps build confidence when they are successful and provides a challenge they wouldn't normally receive to help them apply their current level of knowledge.
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Old 12-02-2017, 02:43 PM
 
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We are working hard to bring the process together with slightly more involved challenges than the spaghetti type, where they work on preplanning, redoing, and adding a writing element to it. I am working on some ideas in our STEM classes to integrate more relative and engaging tech elements, too.

It isn't easy to bring it all together and not make something small into a major ordeal.
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