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  • Writer's pictureEllen Schafer

What is STEAM Education?

Before we can talk about building a makerspace for your school, we need to make sure everyone knows what STEAM is. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics all interwoven together to form an engaging curriculum. As you can see in the graphic, many people associate STEM or STEAM with gears because once one gear moves, all the other gears start to move and everything works together.

Many people wonder what the A stands for because most people have seen the acronym STEM, but not STEAM. You can customize your acronym for what you want your curriculum focus to be that works for your school. I have seen STREAM where R stands for Religion, I have seen E-STEM where the first E stands for Environmental. Make it what you want, but at The Makerspace Maker, we will call it STEAM and incorporate art in our activities to further foster the students' creativity vessels.

To have a true STEAM curriculum, your lessons, challenges, or activities will incorporate all of these subjects together. Teachers can modify or change the focus of the activity to be more math driven, science driven, art driven, etc..., but still include the other subjects to get that cross-over discipline. The best part about STEAM education is that teachers can collaborate with other teachers at school to come up with unique lessons that embody the soul of what STEAM education truly is.

For example, the science teacher can collaborate with the art teacher about creating bird houses in SketchUp. The science teacher can teach students about birds and their habitat while the art teacher uses the technology, SketchUp on the computer, to build a prototype bird house. Students will have to design the bird house to scale while considering what type of bird they want to attract to their bird house. In the makerspace, students can take their virtual bird house plan and measure out how to build it out of wood. Once it is built, they can paint it or decorate it to add more of an art component to it or use a certain technique to fulfill an art standard. The options are limitless!

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