My journey in creating and developing a STEAM classroom started in 2012. The video posted was filmed at STAO2012. The demonstration was a simple task where we build a grape masher and have STAO participants try out the device, ask questions, and develop an activity they can bring back to their classroom. This video shows a start on how you introduce STEAM in your classroom. After using a prebuilt grape masher, students can redesign the grape masher and improve a variety of variables of their choosing e.g., speed, force, etc.
Fast forward to 2015. Thanks to an NSERC grant, Project Innovation participants were given a box filled with tools and materials. The task was to bring the box back into the classroom and use it. My catalyst was to demonstrate how a box of tools and materials could be used to improve student learning by applying what they have learned in a design challenge. The design challenge was to build a water filter to remove particulate from a water sample.
Students in my grade 7 science program learned about water issues in class. A series of cookbook activities and inquires were completed so students had a good understanding of water ecosystem issues that affected them. Students were shown all equipment and materials that were provided them. In 100 minutes, they were to create a filter to remove particulate from their water sample.
Fortunately, students from my school board attend Design & Technology class and they already have the skill and experience needed to use these tools. In 100 minutes, students designed, built, and tested their devices as evidenced by the photos.
The point of my catalyst was to capture what happens when you allow students to create and solve problems using tools. Having MakerSpaces in my classroom allowed students the freedom to move freely in my room and build something that they can be proud of. There were set backs as some of the devices did not filter as much particulate as predicted. However, students took those results and made modifications to improve their devices. They used the Steps to Inquiry to help identified the dependent and independent variables for their new and improved water filter which they will build in their 2016-2017 school year.