When our STEAM program started, the school’s plan was to authentically integrate STEAM with one unit per grade level per year. Year one was about teachers getting on board with the idea. This year, the idea was to have at least a few teachers get on board with integrating STEAM into more units of inquiry. This is a bit of a challenge, given that those teachers and classes have very limited access to the makerspace outside of their one unit per year. Still, STEAM has begun to escape the Makerspace and become a normal part of units for many grade level teams here in our primary division. While some teams have set up small makerspace areas within their pods, the next step is to have portable makerspaces on carts that can be moved to pods, classrooms, or wherever STEAM thinking, creating, and learning are taking place.
One music teacher has even made a STEAM unit for our fourth grade students — they are creating instruments. They must be able to be tuned to actual notes so that students can play them in a band. So far, it’s been a challenge to coordinate the use of the makerspace and adjacent areas, but it’s exciting to see other teachers leap into the new territories and ideas to help students come to a deeper understanding of the world around them.