This Week At STEAM: Intro Week Block 2 2017/18

Happy New Year and welcome to Block 2 of STEAM!

This week was Intro Week where the students learned all the basics of STEAM.  There was a recurring theme among the students upon their arrival at the STEAM Centre – nervousness.  The nerves quickly settled as the day progressed.  We started the day with an ice break- 5W+H.  The students sat in a circle and were randomly given cards that had questions prompts on them: who, what, where, when, why, and how.  The students had to introduce themselves by stating their name, school they attend, grade, and an interesting fact about themselves.  After the student gave their information, the next student had to come up with a question based on the prompt on the card and it pertained to the previous student’s interesting fact.  After everyone was introduced, we discussed that everyone has different interests and likes.

Following the ice breaker we read the book “A Walk in the Rain With a Brain”. The book talked about the word “smart” and touched on the theme that everyone is smart in their own special way.  The students then took a Multiple Intelligence test.  After getting the results, they were asked if there were any surprises.

We proceeded to discuss Digital Literacy and Citizenship.  This included concepts of being safe online such as not posting personal information, photos, and not talking to strangers online.  The students also learned to THINK before they post anything online. The acronym stands for True, Helpful, Innovative, Necessary, and Kind.  Using this information, the students learned how to use Seesaw.  Using the Activities function, the students had to post a photo, video, note, and drawing of something they found intriguing in the STEAM centre.

The students then learned how to use Twitter. They learned the difference between a username and a hashtag and their purposes.  Armed with the new Twitter information, the students had to compose their first Tweet.  They tweeted “I wonder…” pertaining to something they were interested in doing at STEAM.  The tweet also had include the hashtag #wsdsteam.  The students were encouraged to tweet and explain their work for the remainder of the day.

After lunch, we got into the foundations of STEAM:  the 4 C‘s (Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication), The Design Thinking Process, Reflections, and Personalized Learning.  The students were introduced to the language of the 4 C’s such as “explore and evaluate materials, thoughts, and actions” or “take on roles and responsibilities in a group”.

We worked our way through the Design Thinking Process and introduced Instant Challenges, although today’s wasn’t very instant.  The students had to design their own logo!  We discussed what a logo was and gave some examples.  We defined a logo as a symbol that represented something. Individually, the students had to Identify their challenge by writing the challenge in their own words.  They had to Imagine to very general ideas such as a sports team logo or a company logo.  They had to pick one idea and Plan and Design their logo by sketching it and labeling how they used the different materials.  The students were told they had to use at least one of each material. The materials included 6 popsicle sticks, 6 straws, a chenille stick, 5 mailing labels, 2 elastic bands, and a paper cup.  The students then joined up with their peers from their home schools.  They had to collaborate on a final design.  Once the final design was sketched and labeled, the students were allowed to build.  After the build, the students had to share their designs and talk about what their logo represented.  They had to reflect on what they learned and any challenges they had with the materials or with the group work. Finally, they had to note how they refined their designs – one thing they changed and one thing they could change.

At the end of the day, the students completed a reflection.  The students watched a video on reflective writing which reinforced the difference between reflective writing versus descriptive writing.  They had to talk about how they felt on the bus, what they learned during the day, and what they are excited to learn.

Next week is Maker Week!

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