Posts Tagged ‘STEAM’

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CIE Summer Institute

June 30, 2017

Superb learning opportunity

I just returned from Thomas College where Catherine Ring and I worked as a team to create a resource for STEAM at the Center for Innovation in Education Summer Institute. The conversation on STEAM appears to be happening across the state in a small way but after three days of talking STEAM, proficiency-based education and digital learning I am sensing that we are at the edge of a giant leap forward. The most interesting part is that the conversations were not just with visual and performing arts teachers but with teachers of all grade levels and content representing all regions of the state.

From a participant: STEAM is important because it engages the whole brain in learning.

Tim McNamara

The summer institute opening keynote was provided by Tim McNamara, director of High Tech High School in Chula Vista, California. He works in a true student-centered environment where students are not only surviving but flourishing, as they find and explore and learn through their passions. His stories were so inspiring!

The inspiration continued throughout the three days with a very moving performance by Brook Haycock. Her docudramas encourage questioning and thinking.

The final engaging activity was facilitated by Explo. Yes, they brought 35 moose into the room. Teams collaborated to create anything you can imagine for the moose to transport all kinds of goods.

In between participants chose from a variety of workshops. Some of them: Innovative Learning Experiences, Interdisciplinary Unit and Course Design, STEAM Power – Why it Works, How it Looks, Flipping’ Fake News, and A=Arts. All teAms cAn steAm with Music.

Hope Lord “playing” a note on a bottle.

In between attending workshops each team continued work on their project. Catherine and I will continue our STEAM resource work and provide it for you in the future when it is ready to be launched. It will be a living document so if you have any STEAM resources that you’d be kind enough to share please email the link or the resource at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

Providing feedback to each other on plans.

From a participant: The arts breathe life into everything that they touch – STEM is no different. The A in STEAM makes practical solutions beautiful – a chair becomes a sculpture, sound becomes music. When the arts are in the mix, it elevates the process and the product. A deeper, almost emotional connection seems to be made – kids get excited, I get excited. ~Chip Schwehm, Boothbay Region High School

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Scientific Research Through Art

May 21, 2017

Jill Pelto

Habitat Degradation: Ocean Acidification

Artist, Jill Pelto, is communicating scientific research through her artwork and without data and research she wouldn’t create what she does. The main topic is Global Climate Change data and her portfolio is filled with images depicting the images. Jill is tracking melting glaciers, rising sea level, threatened species, the positive and challenges. Her work addresses environmental concerns and inspires individuals to take action.  She is a true collaborator: ” I want to team up with fellow scientists, artists, and people from any discipline.”

I learned that Jill is doing graduate work, a Masters of Science, right here in Maine at the University. She is studying the behavior of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in the past. She is working with Dr. Brenda Hall. You can check out her amazing work at http://www.jillpelto.com. A real “STEAM” connection!

And, you can read about her at THIS LINK, a piece in Upworthy about her.

Measuring Crevasse Depth

 

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Bonny Eagle High School

May 19, 2017

Doing STEAM work

Margaret A. (Peg)  Maxwell has been teaching art for many years at Bonny Eagle High School which is part of MSAD #6 and located in Standish, Maine.

Whenever I see Peg she is engaged in deep learning and has stories to tell about what her students are doing as well. At the end of March I bumped into Peg at LL Beans for the awards ceremony to recognize students whose art work had been selected as part of the 22nd Federal Junior Duck Conservation and Design Program. Of course Peg would involve her students in the opportunity since the program is a dynamic art- and science-based curriculum that teaches wetland and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school.

Peg sees a connection between art and science and any opportunity to develop lessons on the learning connections, she takes advantage of. Peg says it best: “I do not intend to teach science or offer any credit for science courses in my department. My intention is to interest students in the sciences, encourage them to tap into their creative and scientific selves….and to encourage them to invent and make connections for their future learning and become leaders in education, arts, engineering and design.”

Peg and I chatted about a radio talk show discussing STEAM education in the Boy Scouts program. I did a little research and found THIS LINK on the topic. I am aware of the work in our 4H programs. You can read about a 4H curriculum connection of sewing to science at THIS LINK.

At the spring Maine Art Education Association conference Peg provided a session on the Art and Science connection. The description: Teachers will learn the process of science integration into the curriculum using the resources in their buildings. The process of collaboration will be discussed and the proper avenues to pursue in order to facilitate a successful experience for the students. Hands on workshop using journal making as their container of ideas for the units. Weather, botany, anatomy and physiology, astronomy, chemistry and other units of sciences will be reviewed as possible integration topics. A brief discussion about the importance of integration with sciences as a motivator will be part of the workshop.

If you have any questions please contact Peg. She can be reached and is always willing to share at mmaxwell@bonnyeagle.org.

“Remember the importance of the eye and that black hole called the ‘pupil’ and how it allows us to see and learn…perhaps it is our own black hole of energy that manifests into the synapses (meaning to join) of our brain.” 

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In Today’s News

May 7, 2017

STE(A)M for young learners

And article published in the Huffington Post and written by Rebecca A. Palacios, Ph.D., Senior Curriculum Advisor for Age of Learning, Inc., the company that produces the ABCmouse.com website and ABCmouse mobile apps clearly states the value in approaching learning through STEAM.

An excerpt from the article:

“When I began teaching in the mid-1970s, I was taught in my undergraduate studies to incorporate elements of different subjects into my teaching to help children make connections among the ideas they were learning.

What did that look like? If we were learning about buildings, you would see students in my early childhood classes building with blocks; measuring how high their structures were with measuring tapes and drawing what they had built; documenting their work and building over time; and then reading about buildings in their community or around the world. They would paint buildings, draw them, talk about them, and pretend to be builders, carpenters, architects, masons. Our learning centers would change to match the curriculum themes and interests of the children.

Language development and literacy instruction revolved around vocabulary related to their current project, such as the names of the tools, the sizes, colors and parts of the buildings, and words related to building shapes, like rectangle, side, angle, and symmetry. And we also talked about the people who lived or worked in buildings, jobs and money, and connections to other ideas in social studies (food, health, transportation).”

Read the entire article by CLICKING HERE.

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In Today’s News

April 12, 2017

Collaborative work

PATHS students with some of the fence parts.

This is a very large collaborative project underway with the Wentworth School in Scarborough and the welding students at Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS). There are 32 students from 12 sending schools taking part from PATHS. This is a great example of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). The students are creating a fence for the existing school garden that will become a gallery for outdoor art and science projects. Art teacher Joanne Maloney is involved along with the teachers who teach the STEM subjects.  Some of the work will focus on kinesthetic, or tactile learning, and movement.

Close up of a flower on the fence.

Later on in May teaching artist Ann Thompson will work with Wentworth students to create wire sculptures for display on the fence.

The coordination of the idea has been enormous, involving many adults and students, and a wonderful example of collaboration.

To read the entire article from The Forecaster written by Kate Irish Collins, April 3, 2017, please CLICK HERE.

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Arts and Engineering Team

November 25, 2016

National Science Foundation supporting arts education

Recently I learned about Aaron Knochel from his mother in law, Judy Fricke. Judy is a Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader whose focus is on early childhood music education. Aaron is an assistant professor of art education who is leading an arts interdisciplinary team at Penn State. They just received a two-year grant for $299,780f rom the National Science Foundation to design and build a mobile makerspace to explore informal learning in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) subjects.

“According to Graeme Sullivan, director of the Penn State School of Visual Arts, the significance of an NSF grant for a collaborative project involving faculty from the School of Visual Arts and College of Engineering cannot be overstated. “It affirms an educational investment in studio-based research practices of thinking and doing that make use of the best attributes of human curiosity, problem-seeking, and problem-solving,” said Sullivan.”

You can learn more about Aaron by CLICKING HERE. And, read more of the article that explains the work that Aaron and the team are doing by CLICKING HERE.

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STEAM in Poland

September 22, 2016

STREAM camp

img_4192xThank you to Poland Community School art educator, Jonathan Graffius who shared the following information on the summer “STREAM camp” that took place in RSU16. As you will read it was a fabulous opportunity for elementary school student to dive deep into the connections between science, technology, reading, engineering, the arts, and math. During February break 2016 Jonathan designed a STEAM camp so this next step was built on what he learned from that first experience. A meartsed blog post on the STEAM camp is at THIS LINK.

For the STREAM camp, Jonathan designed the concept and the art projects, as well as, making the contacts at the Maine Wildlife park, but there was a team approach to providing the instruction and assessments related to reading, writing and math.  The funding came from a grant that was written by the RSU16 assistant superintendent who also assembled the entire instructional team. Since Jonathan states up front that his expertise is not in reading and writing, therefore he sees the benefits of bringing the staff together who specialize  in literacy and its related classroom instruction. The team worked extremely well together and developed a “center” approach to the STREAM camp instruction that brought individualized literacy instruction to the project. 

RSU 16 SUMMER SCHOOL EXPERIENCE  – In Jonathan’s own words…img_3586

This summer, RSU 16 received a grant allowing Title I students entering grades 3 and 4 to participate in a unique and engaging 4 week STEAM experience. Our goal was to maintain spring reading scores, while providing an engaging program that focused on researching, reading, writing, and creating art based on the animals who live at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine. Throughout this program, students positively responded to literacy instruction, participated in a variety of engineering projects, received small group instruction, went on field trips to gather information to influence their work, and were given individualized instructional time with teachers from multiple backgrounds. The staff consisted of classroom teachers, literacy specialists, general education and special education ed techs. Together the team brought their expertise and experience to deliver instruction through center rotations and three highly engaging field trips to the Maine Wildlife Park.

img_3705Each morning students were greeted with a written building challenge. Students were allowed to work individually or in small groups. Students primarily used wooden blocks and craft sticks to solve the daily building challenges, which involved architectural concepts like column, post, beam, cantilever, arch, and span. Building challenges included specific criteria that allowed for a personal aesthetic and individualized problem-solving. These engaging challenges also required students to apply math skills, primarily through the measuring and recording of data, such as height, number of blocks, span distances, and carrying weight, in their science journals. All of the finished products were photographed.

We gathered every morning after our building challenge to conduct a morning meeting. Following components from the responsive classroom model, morning meeting was an important part of every day because it allowed us to become comfortable and familiar with one another, make connections, share information on a personal level, and build our classroom community. During morning meeting, each student was greeted by name and often had the opportunity to share information about themselves to the whole group. Before our meeting ended, the group collectively reviewed the expectations that were drafted by the students on the first day of meeting each other. Students and teachers signed their name in agreement of the expectations, holding everyone accountable for their actions and words. This familiar routine of welcoming and accepting one another each morning helped set a comfortable, safe, and productive tone for the rest of the day.

img_4088After morning meeting, students broke off into four different groups (which were determined by reading performance data) to rotate among four different centers. Our centers included guided reading groups, phonics focus groups, writing workshop, and art. Through small group center rotations, students were able to receive more focused instruction to meet their academic needs.

At writing workshop, students used iPads and laptops to research information about the animal they had chosen to study from the Wildlife Park. Students wrote poems, riddles, and informational pieces about their animal’s habitat. Students used graphic organizers, wrote drafts in their science notebooks, revised and edited their work with support from their teachers, and all ended up having three pieces of writing published in our final, collaborative anthology of the animals we studied at Maine Wildlife Park.

img_4251When students went to the guided reading group center, they were able to receive direct reading instruction at their level while reading a variety of nonfiction texts. Students were supported by reviewing and practicing reading strategies, listening to each other read, and by writing facts about what they learned from their reading in their individual reading notebooks. Students also had the opportunity to use iPads as a technology resource to read or listen to stories and to take comprehension quizzes about the books they were reading right on their device. Using the guided reading model gave the students the opportunity to recall and reinforce skills learned throughout the school year. Our data showed that students had regressed from the end of the school year to the beginning of the summer program. Our work together helped students get back to where they had ended the school year.

img_3922During the phonics focus group, students participated in a variety of vocabulary and word work activities that related to the animal research they were doing for their writing. Students learned visual and oral cues to match all the vowel teams to bump their sounding out skills to the next level. Practice reviewing phonemic sounds and patterns influenced their reading decoding and performance. Students also read silly animal rhyming poems to recognize and read spelling patterns, as well as talk about their animals and what they were learning through their research.

During the visual arts center, students had the opportunity to be creative in a multitude of ways using a large variety of mediums. Students created works of art that related to their chosen animal and its habitat. Student-led inquiry and research provided a solid foundation for realistic and objective representation in their works of art. All students completed representational drawings, “painted-paper” collages, hand-built clay sculptures, and folded paper trioramas of their animal’s habitat. Many students also used digital cameras, iPads and other portable electronic devices to visually record their observations and experiences from their perspective.

img_3676We also were able to utilize our reading specialist during our center rotations as a resource for our most at-risk students. She was able to pull students for 1:1 reading to help them maintain their spring reading scores.

All students contributed research, writing and art work on a chosen animal at the Maine Wildlife Park that was published in their collaborative book Maine Animals–Their Stories. Learning extended beyond the school walls as students had the opportunity to take three field trips to Maine Wildlife Park and observe their animals firsthand. Students filled the role of field researchers at the park, receiving guided tours with volunteer park guides who answered students’ questions about their chosen animal. At the Park, students also photographed their animals in their habitats and took notes in their science journal. Through expeditionary primary research, students gained an authentic purpose to their research, writing and art.

img_4022The grant that was allocated to RSU 16 stated that 90% of our students would maintain their Fountas and Pinnell reading level at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. Students were able to meet this goal through the use of our STEAM model.

Jonathan will be on the STEAM panel at the Maine International Conference on the Arts, sponsored by the Maine Arts Commission on Friday, October 7, at the Bates Mill, Lewiston. The STEAM panel is one of 4 sessions in the education strand being held that day. There are 3 other arts strands along with other opportunities taking place that day and the pre MICA conference for arts educators on Thursday, October 6. To learn more and to register please CLICK HERE or contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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