Thanks to Sol Chu, Development Intern, for putting together this blog post to celebrate STEM Week!
October 22-26 is Mass STEM week! To honor this week, let’s take a look at USES’s unique STEAM programming, projects, and outcomes.
STEAM stands for:
What is STEAM? It is the integrated study of science, technology, engineering, and math concepts presented through a creative lens by leveraging the arts. We recognize that there are many different types of learners and many students need to touch, build, explore, and experience to truly grasp new concepts. According to the Commonwealth Corporation, there are nearly 600,000 people working in STEM occupations in Massachusetts (17% of the total state workforce), and it is continuously growing. STEM is becoming even more of a necessity for children to be learning these skills. With projects that are open-ended, the addition of art-focus in STEAM helps to facilitate children’s curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving while also developing skills in relationship, communication, motor, and language.
So how is STEAM utilized at USES? In our Early Childhood Education and club48 out-of-school-time programs, students participate in an array of weekly STEAM activities. One session is called “How to be a Scientist,” where children learn the foundations for scientific processes by cycling through stations with tweezers, eyedroppers, and rulers. Following the introductory session, we have sessions called “Color Mixing”, “Reactions”, “Five Senses”, “Science Storytelling”, “Collections and Close Looking”, “Living or Nonliving?”, “Shapes and Patterns”, and “Force and Motion”. By utilizing these programs, students become more apt and able to use STEM concepts in real-life situations, and not just in lab-like settings.
“Art is a great way for the students to experiment with STEM concepts and to familiarize themselves with the investigative process. It allows students the freedom to explore without worrying about the final product and to continue to develop their problem-solving skills through imaginative solutions.” – Julia Heinzmann, STEAM and Arts Integration Coordinator at USES
The goal of STEAM is to utilize social-emotional learning to develop future innovators, collaborators, and leaders. By teaching concepts of STEM in a more creative environment, children become more likely to not only understand, but also apply STEM topics into their academic careers. Traditional learning primarily reinforces auditory and visual learners, but STEAM directly challenges that idea by allowing children with all different learning styles to guide their own learning through their creative decisions.
Happy STEM Week! We’ll be celebrating at USES as we always do, and we hope you learned something new today!
Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to see some awesome STEAM projects!