STEAM + Project-Based Learning: Real Solutions From Driving Questions

STEAM + Project-Based Learning: Real Solutions From Driving Questions


>>Ronnie: Boys and girls,
what is inside of this bag? Air. You are going to see
convection at its best.>>Natasha: Now that we are a STEAM
school, using project based learning as our primary instructional strategy, we see our students succeeding
at the highest levels. They’re interested in what’s
happening in the world. They’re interested in their own learning
and how they’re going to apply that.>>Ronnie: So here at Charles Drew
Charter School, we are a STEAM school, with the emphasis on
science, technology, engineering, the arts and math. Our kids not only get the regular
curriculum, but they also have classes like science lab with me, robotics,
engineering, art, chorus, band.>>Teacher: This is called a?>>Children: Flute.>>Teacher: Flute.>>Sayj: I’m taking dance
and orchestra right now.>>Joshua: I like technology too.>>Adia: I love science, and I like
to learn about how things work.>>Donya: Well, for us,
project based learning and STEAM can’t really be separated.>>Abigail: Instead of teaching
these skills and these disciplines in isolation, we collaborate
and work together. Our students are making connections
between these disciplines.>>Donya: We know that the
careers that are going to be available are in STEAM fields. We use project based
learning to help our students to be successful in those careers.>>Abigail: Project based learning
is not just creating a project. It’s not teaching theme units. It’s solving a problem. The project is a product that students
create in order to solve a problem. It’s a project that needs
to have an audience. It needs to have a lasting impact.>>Donya: So across the entire
building, teams collaborate to plan project based
learning instruction.>>So ideally, what we’re going to do
is look at these essential elements.>>We focus on one project based
learning unit that integrates all of the subject areas each quarter. The teachers work together to look at
their standards, look at what’s relevant for our students, what’s
happening in the world, and design a driving question.>>Janale: I like it a lot, because
there’s one question, one big picture. I like big pictures, but I also like that you can ask little
questions within the big question.>>Abigail: A big standard in third
grade is teaching about heat. We wanted to see if students
could figure out a problem within their community that
they could solve using heat. We immediately thought
of Snowpocalypse. Heat played an important
role, whether it was related to the weather, or how Atlantans coped.>>Adia: There was just
coldness and snow and ice, and so heat plays a really
good part to keep us warm.>>Abigail: We eventually arrived at the
question of, how can we better prepare for Atlanta’s changing weather?>>Natasha: We went in this direction
because we knew that it affected a lot of their families, it
affected our school.>>Abigail: My students
researched the event. I brought in some community
members to just share their stories.>>Woman: We had so many people stranded. We had students who were on the
bus, ten, eleven o’clock at night, and we was trying to contact parents, just to let them know
where their child was.>>Abigail: They couldn’t believe
some of the stuff they heard and that to me was this very organic way
that they arrived at this problem and this feeling of, “I want
to do something about it.”>>We are going to be
thinking of some ways to help Atlantans better
prepare for weather like this.>>Donya: The teachers may have
designed a project that’s going to guide the students in a direction,
but the students have a big role helping to design products that
will solve those problems.>>Melissa: My class came up
with some type of safety case that would help them
if they were stranded. So they will do certain little
mini projects along the way, like a solar oven. They’ll talk about insulation,
they’ll test different materials to see what are good conductors of heat and to see how do these everyday
materials fit into your kit.>>Girl: Wooden spoon,
plastic spoon, metal spoon.>>Melissa: Does it feel
cold, does it feel hot?>>Boy: Feel this, feel this.>>Melissa: Record your observations. What about the metal spoon, Destiny?>>Destiny: The metal spoon got hotter.>>Melissa: So that was the hottest?>>Destiny: Yes.>>Natasha: One of the questions that
they said that they needed to know was, well how was heat produced? Mister Thomas came up with the idea
to bring the entire third grade out.>>Ronnie: Heat energy can be
transferred in how many ways?>>Children: Three.>>Ronnie: Three, conduction,
radiation and convection. The heat from the sun will transfer
energy to the air inside this bag, once the molecules in the air
inside the bag get warmed up, the solar bag is going
to rise into the air.>>Children: [excited screaming]>>Abigail: Our commitment to STEAM has
shaped how we do project based learning here at Drew. Technology, science, engineering, that
all factors into what we’re looking for the students to be able to do when
they’re answering this driving question.>>Donya: We see our students
collaborating naturally to solve problems, not just the
ones presented to them by teachers, but the ones that they
just face every day.