Title

Full STEAM Ahead--Using a Problem-Based Curricular Framework to Engage At-Risk Students

Location

Vernon

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

This proposal relates to strands 1 & 2 by emphasizing equitable opportunities to learn across the STEM fields for all students and addressing achievement motivation and student empowerment.

Brief Program Description

The purpose of the session is to discuss the impact of an integrative curricular framework on upper elementary students and their attitudes about learning in math and science. Objectives include: (1) introducing STEAM framework (2) sharing how this framework has been implemented in 1 particular school and (3) discussing ways to begin introducing STEAM practices into other programs. This session would be ideal for practitioners, educators or program administrators.

Summary

The goal of education focuses on knowledge at the core: (a) the generation of knowledge, (b) the understanding of knowledge (c) the retention of knowledge and (d) the active use of knowledge (Kaplan & Flum, 2012). However, with the emphasis on 21st century skills, educators and others have realized that education must also promote the development of students’ identities. STEAM education is an integrated curricular framework that includes science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (Yakman, 2008; Basham, Israel & Maynard, 2010; Israel, Maynard & Williamson, 2013). It emphasizes problem-solving and critical thinking through real-world applications (Basham, Israel & Maynard, 2010; Israel, Maynard & Williamson, 2013). This framework not only engages students in authentic and meaningful learning experiences, it allows them to explore potential careers in science related fields and to become scientifically literate. While much research now looks at STEM education, very little research has explored the role of STEM education in improving student engagement at the elementary level. In addition, there is a gap in the literature as it relates to how students understand STEM or project based learning and it’s potential impact on their future aspirations. The purpose of this presentation is three-fold: 1) to evaluate the impact of a STEAM framework on student engagement 2) to discuss the use of peer leaders as a potential strategy for enhancing student engagement and 3) to explore the ways that students identify as researchers. Attitudes and beliefs of fifth grade students were measured using a series of surveys: the STEM Semantics Survey, Career Interest Questionnaire, modified Engagement vs. Disaffection Scale, Motivation and Engagement Scale (MES) and the Children’s Hope Scale. Students were observed during weekly research team meetings and classroom STEAM activities. Data and outcomes will be presented. In addition, practical steps for getting started with STEAM projects will be shared with participants.

Evidence

Recent studies discuss the important of STEM plus the arts or STEAM education. Including the arts in this interdisciplinary approach adds another layer of creativity and a stronger design element. Some of these studies have shown that incorporating the arts into STEM instruction improves students' observational skills (Root-Bernstein & Root-Bernstein, 1999), visual thinking (Winner & Casey, 1992), and their ability to recognize and form patterns (Root- Bernstein & Root-Bernstein, 1999).

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Adriane Sheffield is a 4th year doctoral student in the field of educational psychology at the University of Alabama. Ms. Sheffield received her master’s degrees in special education and community research and a B.S. in early childhood special education from Vanderbilt University. She served as a classroom teacher in the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools for 10 years where she also served as a district level trainer for multiple district -adopted initiatives. She currently serves as academic coordinator for a Saturday enrichment academy in Tuscaloosa, AL and is the principal investigator for Developing STARS (Strengths, Talents and Resources in Students)—a school-based strengths-focused mentoring project. Her research interests include: cultural dimensions of engagement; student perceptions of learning; out-of school learning environments; and STEAM as a model for project based learning.

Dr. Sandra Nichols is a faculty member at the University of Alabama in the Special Education and Multiple Abilities Department. She received her Ph.D. in Special Education and B.S. in Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi and M.S. from the University of Memphis in Rehabilitation Counseling. Throughout her career, she has held various administrative positions and received several leadership awards. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Alabama, Dr. Nichols was a faculty member and Interim Chair of the Instruction and Curriculum Leadership Department at the University of Memphis. During this time, she received the Burton College of Education, Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Nichols has partnered with several southeastern school districts to focus on professional development and systems change in educational settings.

Keyword Descriptors

science and math education, project-based learning, student engagement

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-4-2015 9:45 AM

End Date

3-4-2015 11:00 AM

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Mar 4th, 9:45 AM Mar 4th, 11:00 AM

Full STEAM Ahead--Using a Problem-Based Curricular Framework to Engage At-Risk Students

Vernon

The purpose of the session is to discuss the impact of an integrative curricular framework on upper elementary students and their attitudes about learning in math and science. Objectives include: (1) introducing STEAM framework (2) sharing how this framework has been implemented in 1 particular school and (3) discussing ways to begin introducing STEAM practices into other programs. This session would be ideal for practitioners, educators or program administrators.