STEM Lesson Planning

Dr. Ian O'Byrne

By Dr. Ian O’Byrne

STEAM education is a way to teach how all things relate to each other, in school and in life. It’s more fun than traditional learning styles and makes more sense to all types of learners because it is based on the natural ways that people learn and are interested in things.

STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. Integration of STEAM into instruction provides an avenue for formally teaching the inter-relationships of how subjects relate in real-life. STEAM-style education can be enjoyably and meaningfully delivered in more engaging and deeply embedding ways within the already well-established realm of education.

The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, & work through the creative process. These skills are necessary as we create the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century.

STEAM lessons do not require expensive equipment or special classrooms, spaces or equipment, most of them use common items, some of them will certainly benefit from having things like 3D printers and greenhouses, but there are ways to implement this in standard styled classrooms.

Watch video with Tracey Hunter-Doniger is an Assistant Professor of Creativity at the College of Charleston.The four questions discussed in this interview video are:

  1. What is STEAM?
  2. What is STEM, and how did we get to STEAM?
  3. Why is this important?
  4. How do we make this happen?

[Ian O’Byrne], (2018). Four Questions for Tracey Hunter-Doniger about STEM , from      (16;34 minutes)  CC By SA

Embedding STEAM in the K-8 classroom

To help provide guidance on how to embed this curriculum in the K-8 classroom, I worked with my colleagues Tracey Hunter-Doniger and Nenad Radakovic to help facilitate these discussions with some great teachers at Eagle’s Nest Elementary and River Oaks Middle School in Summerville, SC.

In this work, it is important that we identify what is known about STEAM, as well as effective teaching, learning, and assessment. From there, we facilitate dialogue to have the educators define these terms for themselves, and identify work already being done in the classroom that evidences these elements. We conclude with an identification of plans and next steps for implementation.



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Embedding STEAM into K-8 Classrooms Copyright © 2023 by Dr. Ian O'Byrne is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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