Full STEAM Ahead

Catalog Description:
This course explores new and emerging trends in STEAM education, including the inclusion and importance of art integration. We will also explore new ideas and strategies that can be applied to STEAM education related to effective problem solving and designing authentic learning experiences that inspire and engage students.

Allow 5 - 7 hours per session for completion of all requirements.

Participants are expected to have regular access to computers. In addition, participants should be proficient with using email, browsing the Internet, and navigating to computer files.

Goals and Objectives:
During this course, participants will learn skills and strategies to:

  • Understand opposing viewpoints of whether or not STEM should be converted to STEAM in schools.
  • Identify benefits of integrating arts across the curriculum and how art can support critical and creative thinking skills.
  • Learn what a MakerSpace is and how it supports both informal learning and formal learning opportunities related to STEAM.
  • Understand what computational thinking is and implications for STEAM education.
  • Gain an understanding of what Design Thinking is and how it can be used in education to support STEAM initiatives.
  • Learn the benefits of designing STEAM/ STEM investigations that support real world problem solving.
  • Complete a final project template based on activities and readings throughout the course.

Course Outline:
Orientation: (1-2 hours)
Participants will prepare for the course with an introductory reading and icebreaker activity. Participants will read tip sheets for participating in online discussions, credit information, and complete an orientation survey.

Session One: What is STEAM? Shifting from STEM to STEAM (5-7 hours)
This first module shares opposing viewpoints from advocates that believe adding arts into STEM adds value, as well as those who believe that it should be separate. Participants will share their opinion (backed up with evidence) of whether arts should be added into STEM education. Participants will be asked to complete various activities to demonstrate their understanding of both sides of the debate.  These activities include analyzing an infographic that compares the advantages of both, as well as writing a sample “letter to your administrator” taking a position on STEM vs. STEAM and sharing justification. 

There is also a weekly discussion question that will be formatted as a debate. Each participant will be assigned a perspective (either pro STEAM or anti STEAM) and participate from that role.

Session Two: Why the “A” is Important: The Case for Arts Integration (5-7 hours)
Arts integration has been shown by several rigorous studies to increase student engagement and achievement among youth from both low and high socioeconomic backgrounds. In this module, students will explore different resources describing various methods for integrating arts across the curriculum as well as several reasons why adding arts is important for learning. Participants will explore different resources for ideas and inspiration for integrating arts. In this module, the focus is taking a closer look at the research behind arts integration and creativity in education. 

Session Three: The Maker Movement: A Learning Revolution (5-7 hours)
In this module, students will learn about a new global learning revolution that supports both informal learning as well as formal. In module three, the focus is on understanding what the Maker movement is and how creating a MakerSpace can support STEAM initiatives. This revolution has been named the Maker Movement. Maker movement is learning fueled by students’ curiosities and the love of tinkering. There is no wrong or right way to create a MakerSpace. In this module you will explore readings that share reasons why MakerSpaces are important in education, as well as tools, resources, and ideas for starting a space. Participants will explore a variety of resources, ideas, and tools that can be used to create a student MakerSpace. 

Participants will be required to practice being a “maker”. Participants will be asked to identify an activity and actually produce a maker product. They will then reflect on the process with their colleagues in the discussion forum. 

Session Four: New Trends: Computational Thinking (5-7 hours)
This module describes what Computational Thinking is and how it allows us to take a complex problem, understand what the problem is and develop possible solutions. We can then present these solutions in a way that a computer, a human, or both, can understand. Learners will understand what Computational Thinking is and how it can be used to support STEAM. Participants will explore digital tools and resources that support Computational Thinking. The focus is on understanding what Computational Thinking is and how it can be implemented to support STEAM education.

The discussion forum will require participants discuss their viewpoint on integrating CT into STEAM and back up their opinion with justification and evidence from the module.

Session Five: Design Thinking in STEM/STEAM Education (5-7 hours)
Connecting STEAM/STEM to design thinking may be a creative way to excite students about STEM and empower them to apply what they learn to solve problems and take on new challenges. In this module, students will explore resources to learn more about what Design Thinking is and how it applies to education. Participants will practice using Design Thinking process to solve a problem.

The discussion forum will require participants discuss their viewpoint on integrating DT into STEAM and back up their opinion with justification and evidence from the module.

Session Six: Successful STEAM: Authentic Real World Problem Solving (5-7 hours)
In this module, we explore the importance of incorporating real world problem solving that represents problems we face in the real world. Providing students with real-world problems to solve fuels their curiosity and investigative interests and is crucial to successful STEAM learning experiences. Students will explore resources and tools to support real world problem solving lessons. The focus in this module is on understanding the importance of real world problem solving as an element in designing STEAM learning activities. 


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