Key Components of a Successful STEAM Curriculum
As our society continues to advance and technology becomes increasingly important, it’s important that we prepare our children for the future. One of the most effective ways to do so is through STEAM education.
STEAM education is a combination of science, technology, engineering, art, and math, and it’s an approach that helps students build critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
While many STEM/STEAM teachers across the United States create their own lesson plans, there are now many resources available to help them create a comprehensive STEAM curriculum. In this article, we’ll discuss the key components needed for a successful STEAM curriculum and what teachers should look for when creating their lesson plans.
Engage Students with Relevant Real-World Applications
The first key component of a successful STEAM curriculum is real-world applications. When students can see how the concepts they’re learning in the classroom apply to the world around them, they’re more engaged and interested in the material. STEAM educators should look for lesson plans that include projects or activities that allow students to see the real-world applications of the concepts they’re learning.
Connect Different Disciplines with Interdisciplinary Learning
One of the unique features of STEAM education is that it combines several different disciplines. As such, a successful STEAM curriculum should encourage interdisciplinary learning. Students should have the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in one discipline to another discipline. For example, students might use the math skills they’ve learned to design and build a bridge in an engineering project.
Provide Opportunities for Hands-On Learning
Hands-on learning is a crucial component of a successful STEAM curriculum. Students should be given the opportunity to work on projects and activities that allow them to apply the concepts they’ve learned in the classroom. By working with their hands, students are more likely to remember what they’ve learned and to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts.
Integrate EDP into the Classroom
By integrating Engineering Design Process (EDP) into your STEAM curriculum, you can help your students develop critical thinking skills and learn how to solve real-world problems.
The EDP provides a flexible process that can help students identify and solve problems they encounter. By conducting background research and developing multiple ideas for solutions, students can create and test prototypes, evaluate and redesign them, and learn from their mistakes.
Encourage Collaboration and Teamwork
Collaboration is an important aspect of STEAM education. Working with others allows students to learn from each other and to develop their teamwork skills. A successful STEAM curriculum should include opportunities for students to work in groups or pairs on projects and activities.
Challenge Students with Problem-Solving Exercises
Problem-solving is a critical skill for the 21st century, and it’s an important part of STEAM education. Students should be given the opportunity to work on projects that require them to identify problems and come up with creative solutions. By developing their problem-solving skills, students will be better equipped to tackle real-world challenges in the future.
Fostering Creative Thinking
Finally, a successful STEAM curriculum should encourage creative thinking. Students should be given the opportunity to come up with their own ideas and to think outside the box. This will help them to develop their creativity and to see problems from different perspectives. While fostering creative thinking, encourage students to embrace failure and consider the myriad of ways a problem can be solved.
Pulling It All Together: Resources for Implementing a STEAM Curriculum
To achieve their goals for an engaging STEAM curriculum, teachers can use various resources available to them. Online communities and professional organizations, such as the National Science Teachers Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, can offer support and guidance. These organizations can provide access to research-based strategies and methods, as well as networking opportunities with other educators.
Ready-made STEAM lesson plans can also be a valuable resource. For example, SAM Labs offers a range of lesson plans that teach STEAM concepts through coding and robotics. These lesson plans are designed to be easy to implement, even for teachers with limited experience in these subjects. They can be customized to suit the needs of individual classrooms and students.
Collaboration among teachers is also crucial when creating a STEAM curriculum. By sharing ideas and best practices, educators can develop lesson plans that are effective and engaging for students. Collaboration can take many forms, including online forums, professional development workshops, and teacher-led discussions.
Overall, creating a STEAM curriculum requires a combination of resources, creativity, and collaboration. With the right support, teachers can design a curriculum that prepares their students for the challenges of the future.
Shaunda Douglas is a former educator with over 15 years of experience in all levels of education. In her free time, she reads, plays with her dogs, watches baseball, and loves a good nap.