For my final blog post I will be focusing on STEAM and assessment. STEAM is often times interactive and hands on which is quite different from the traditional teaching model, as a result, educators must adapt their method of assessment.
After researching different ways to effectively assess STEAM activities I realised there is not one clear answer. In fact, there are a variety of methods one can use to assess students in STEAM, and no one method is superior to another. Students can utilise technology to document their own work, for example, taking pictures of their creations. Students can also sketch their observations rather than follow a traditional writing model. There is truly an extraordinary amount of options for STEAM assessment.
This diversity in methods of assessment also allows teachers to differentiate between students. For example, students who are unable to write about their creations, may be able to sketch them much more effectively. This allows students to focus on their project rather than stress about their writing.
Attached is an interesting article outlining different assessment practices in regards to STEAM projects.
For this article I will be focusing on the inquiry question “what are helpful classroom management strategies to assure a STEAM project is a success?”.
Classroom management is an important part of STEAM projects because it structures the learning environment. One of the most important classroom management strategies when teaching a STEAM lesson (or others) is setting clear expectations. Setting clear expectations allows students to feel comfortable in their environment while also minimising confusion about what they are supposed to be doing. Expectations should also be visibly posted for student reference throughout the activity.
Another classroom management strategy that is important to STEAM projects is constant interaction with students. A teacher cannot simply review expectations, hand out supplies, and then sit at their desk checking emails for the next 40 minutes. For STEAM activities to have the biggest impact on students, the teacher must ask leading questions and offer challenging insights into student projects. Further, teachers must also be around to support students who need extra guidance.
Finally, the last classroom management strategy I will be discussing is relationship building. Although this may not sound like a classroom management strategy, it is arguably the most important. When a teacher has a relationship with their students they are better able to assess their needs. For example, if there is an ELL student in the class who cannot write proficiently in English yet, the classroom teacher could place him in a STEAM group with a student who could support him (peer support). By thoughtfully creating STEAM groups, students will be able to create, collaborate, and problem solve at their highest potential.
Attached is a video that highlights a STEAM school in Atlanta, GA.
After some preliminary research I have found 3 main aspects of STEAM that I would like to focus on for my inquiry project.
Should STEAM be primarily teacher directed or student directed?
What are helpful classroom management strategies to assure a STEAM project is a success?
How can STEAM projects be assessed?
This blog post will focus on number 1 ‘should STEAM be primarily teacher directed or student directed’. Upon further research I realised there is no one clear answer to this question. STEAM can be structured on a spectrum, with teacher directed on one end and student directed on the other. How you structure these projects may be dependent on many things, perhaps you are working with a high energy class that needs a bit more structure, or perhaps you want to give students as little guidance as possible to see what they can come up with independently.
Below is an article about student led STEM (comparable to STEAM).
For my first blog post I thought I would define STEAM and some of the key features associated with it. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. This is similar to STEM, the only difference being the addition of art. STEAM projects consist of materials and objects that can be manipulated to create a product. This product is usually a result of a leading question or task given from the instructor. This question/task is meant to be open-ended in order for students to stretch their creativity and reach their own conclusions.