How often does a six-year-old apply the scientific method to questions about room temperature for the opera? She often comes home talking about the physics of how something works, and I love how enthusiastic she gets about a wide variety of subjects. Most importantly, she has so much fun at STEAM Studio, and I don't think she even realizes how much she is learning. The program has simply helped her to develop her own natural curiosity and creativity.
STEAM Studio is an after school enrichment program that explores the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. This program is for elementary aged public and private school children in the Champaign-Urbana community.
As an after school enrichment program, STEAM fosters purposeful play and provides an opportunity for students to hone their engineering and design skills by creating useful devices from a given set of materials. In the area's first dedicated Makers Lab for elementary-aged students, STEAM presents a hands-on experience introducing participants to a number of skills including woodworking, electrical circuitry, sewing, 3D printing, and much more. Each group participates in a mini-workshop to expand their skills and hone their talents. Then, students design, build, and create their very own products based on their interests and workshop badges. Past products could include, but are not limited to, LED pins, Bristlebots, toys, fashion items, simple chairs, and model planes.
STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process.
The integrated curriculum of STEAM Studio is enhanced regularly by field experiences that not only connect a topic to real-world learning, but also connect students’ varying world experiences. Field experiences challenge the student to think - and act - beyond the classroom by allowing them to explore different applications and perspectives of their knowledge.
Guest experts are an important part of the educational experience for STEAM students. They not only expose students to real-world applications of their STEAM Studio topics, but give further insight and perspective of the guest speaker’s particular field. Glimpses of life as a bio-engineer for the student who is fascinated by the movement of microorganisms could be a key roadway on the map of that student's future.
When designing the curriculum for STEAM Studio, Angela Nelson and her STEAM Team work to create dynamic, integrated lessons that pull from different areas of study and cut across subject-matter lines emphasizing unifying concepts. Through the multi-disciplinary study of expertly-curated units, each student is introduced to a range of learning opportunities leading to a more individualized experience that contributes to the fun and challenging environment that is STEAM Studio. Integrated curriculum bridges the gap between a student’s real-life experiences and the classroom, resulting in more student engagement through challenging and exciting lessons and a higher mastery of concepts.
We encourage students to explore the possibilities through discovery- and project-based learning. By wrestling with challenging questions, manipulating objects, and experimenting to solve problems, STEAM Studio students can bring in their own observations leading to meaningful insights. Students gain confidence in themselves as they realize that through their own learning processes they can reach the answers to those challenging questions and solve complicated problems.
STEAM is simply amazing. Our 5-yr old loves it. After her first day in the Zepto room she could not wait to go back. We love the integrated 6-week modules that go both broad (to see interrelationships) and in-depth (to truly learn) on a given subject by interweaving tactile hands-on experimentation, science and art. At the culmination of each module there is a group activity with individual presentations by each student on their special topic area—teaching communication and skill mastery from day one.
Steam is what I looked forward to at the end of everyday, more than school. I met most of my friends there including my best friend, Paige. It’s a place where you can create and learn, be who you are and explore your interests. I love STEAM and I love Ms. Nelson! She is the best teacher I’ve ever had. She is the heart of steam.
Have you ever wanted to take off and explore the Amazon but just can't find the time? STEAM Studio students found a solution to that pesky problem by visiting the University of Illinois' CITL (Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning) Armory Innovation Spaces: Innovation Studio and TechHub and working at STEAM Studio to creatively solve problems they would approach in their real-life travel! Check out the I-STEM article for more details about this exciting unit!
STEAM Studio's Tera Group (grades 3-5) focused a recent unit around Astro-Technology. The class invited University of Illinois Astronomy Professor, Tony Wong, to present and lead a lab activity in which students learned and made their own telescopes. I-STEM was there to cover the event and posted a story on their site. Read the full article.