Integrated Approach to Learning:
S:  Physical and Social SCIENCES
T:  Incorporation of TECHNOLOGY
E:  Principles of ENGINEERING and Design
A:  English Language ARTS
M: Application of MATHEMATICS

Impact on Science

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about STEAM and Science Class

Yes we still...
  • have lectures.
  • take notes.
  • have homework.
  • take tests and quizzes.
  • cover the same content.
  • receive individual grades.
Here's what new...

Project Based Units
There a few large in class projects: Rubber Band Powered Vehicle (RPV), Egg Drop and Keep it Cool. These projects are used to anchor the major units we teach in our course. For example: Speed, Acceleration, Relativity, Motion, Force, Momentum and Newton’s Laws of Motion are combined into a unit called Rubber Band Powered Vehicle. The RPV serves as the backdrop for the lessons as they are taught.

Inquiry Based Labs with Analysis
All labs are inquiry based with full write-ups. Investigations begin with the posing of a question. Students must first identify the variables embedded in the question before writing a hypothesis. After viewing materials and having any necessary protocols explained, groups write their own procedures and construct a data table.  Once data is collected, students move on to the analysis portion of the lab during which the data is graphed, conclusion is written, relationship between independent and independent variables is stated and suggestions for further study are addressed.

Engineering Design Challenges

There are a series of small design challenges embedded throughout the year. Each follows the design brief format and serves as a reinforcement of engineering principles discussed in class. Students work as a team in clearly defined engineering roles. (see Cooperative Learning.) Students are assessed on both an academic and behavioral level through the written design brief and a group assessment rubric.

Divergent Resources
Our textbook is no longer the primary resource for this class. In fact, we embrace the concept that the greater the number of resources we can draw upon the richer our understanding of the concepts become. Through our anchor vocabulary assignment called “Flippin’ Vocab”, students bring a variety of definitions and/or explanations of our vocabulary terms to the classroom. In our journal discussions, we can agree on definitions that can address the differences.

A great example of how using divergent resources can enhance understanding is using multiple periodic table applications on an iPod touch. I used to handout a class set of periodic tables. Every year I would try to find the perfect table with not too much or too little information. Students would become very proficient with the periodic table that I provided. However, when the students encountered a different table they would become very confused. In fact, students couldn't even identify information they already knew. By comparison, when students had there initial discussion of the periodic table with multiple representations in hand they appeared to have a much deeper understanding.

Real World Partnerships with NASA and Siemens Corporation

Connection to Math and Technology
The mathematical components of Physical Science are made explicit. Formulas are applied to discussed topics whenever possible. All labs must contain a graphical representation of data and data is often analyzed by the math teacher on the team. The team’s technology teacher often co-teaches lessons during design challenges or on project build days. There is often a free flow of students between science and technology classrooms and the large open hall we share during design and construction sessions.

Cooperative Learning
All labs and design challenges are performed with specific roles for each students allowing for interdependence as well as individual accountability with specific communication skills addressed.
Reads directions step by step, Directs technicians, Facilitates group discussions, Aware of all team member activity, Visits with other project managers

Future Impacts on Science: MARS ROVER PROJECT 2013

Extensive Use of 21st Century Technology