How to use STEAM THINKING in our everyday lives
Remember Snowmageddon 2019? Many of us came up with creative ways to deal with lack of power, heat, water and other challenges in very creative ways. Dealing with simple and complex problems in our lives require problem-solving skills, design thinking, collaboration and critical thought processes known as STEAM Thinking.
Douglas County Partners for Student Success and the Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub are committed to connecting children, families and educators with resources to build the skills needed to identify problems and create innovative solutions that lead to social and economic stability. Steam Thinking throughout our community makes this possible.
STEAM Thinking acknowledges and emphasizes the interconnectedness of five separate disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, Artistic Innovation and Mathematics. But STEAM Thinking also impacts our lives daily without getting tied to these traditional disciplines of study.
Children begin life STEAM-ready. They keenly observe the world around them, ready to connect ideas as they experiment, create, try new things and take things apart. Children learn as they paint, build, dance and explore. As adults, it is important for us to let children play and be STEAM thinkers on a daily basis without getting in their way.
STEAM Thinking can be used in the classroom to offer project-based learning that combines the various disciplines to engage visual and analytical thinking. This holistic approach prepares today’s students with the tools needed to navigate a complex world.
While STEAM Thinking begins with children, STEAM Thinking benefits grown adults too. At its heart, STEAM is founded on lifelong learning and problem solving. It’s up to each of us to identify problems, visualize solutions and improve those solutions.
To engage STEAM Thinking, begin by asking:
Who should I collaborate with to find an answer?
What problem am I trying to solve?
What details are the most important?
What do I think will happen?
Why is this like this?
Where can I find the resources needed to fix the problem?
When do I think a solution will be found?
How can I fix this problem?
How can this be done differently?
Use the questions above to help solve your dilemmas and pursue your wonderings and passions. For instance, instead of purchasing a new oven if the heating element stops working, order a replacement part and follow safety protocols. If your laptop screen cracks, research what you need to do to replace the screen yourself. If you want to paint the inside rooms of your house, use math to figure out exactly how much paint you’ll need.
These same questions can be used within work environments and community organizations to: collaborate and discover where to allocate resources; determine what’s needed to be more efficient; provide ingenious options.
There’s a sense of satisfaction connected to solving problems. Of course, there are many situations that require professionally trained people who have the education and tools needed to assist you. Reach out for help, whenever needed. After all, knowing who to ask is a key component in STEAM.
To learn more about Douglas County Partners for Student Success and the Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub, visit www.dcpss.org.
Resources for you!
For at-home and classroom STEAM activities, visit, www.dcpss.org/home-learning/steam-thinking-at-home and www.dcpss.org/steam/parent-teacher-resources
Bright Futures Umpqua
Douglas County Partners for Student Success launched www.brightfuturesumpqua.com, an ongoing, collaborative resource between regional organizations and institutions. The website is a toolkit to steer students toward career paths and post-secondary education opportunities, while providing resources for parents, educators and industry leaders to help students succeed.
If you’re an educator, check out STEAM professional learning opportunities: www.dcpss.org/pl-opportunities
Call to Action!
- Like the DCPSS & Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub Facebook page (www.facebook.com/UVRSH) to get STEAM-related updates. If you’re a STEAM advocate, join the DCPSS & Umpqua Valley Facebook forum group to share ideas at www.facebook.com/groups/165636094690402
- For a growing set of STEAM activities to do at home, go to http://www.dcpss.org/home-learning/steam-thinking-at-home/
- Sign up for an Oregon Connections account and explore a virtual library of more than 10,000 Industry Chats to introduce your students to career opportunities (age range). https://oregonconnections.nepris.com/home/v4
- Sign up for the Lending Library to check out science-based teaching inventory (for all grade levels) such as robots, drones and blood pressure cuffs: www.umpquasteamhub.org
- Access elementary classroom lessons by grade level at Oregon STEM Bites: https://sites.google.com/pdxstem.org/stem-bites/
- Access high school physics, chemistry and biology lessons at: https://sites.google.com/beaverton.k12.or.us/patterns/home
Industry professionals and STEAM Community Partners
- Become a community partner. Sign up for a mini grant and participate in STEAM Week Oregon 2021 to help connect students with ways to reimagine learning. Local activities will be developed and promoted by the Umpqua Valley STEAM HUB at https://stemoregon.org/stemweek2021
- Commit to offering a 30-minute Industry Chat to introduce students to your profession. Contact Lacey Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org from the Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub for more information.
- Sign up for your own Oregon Connections account and research future careers in the Career Explorer tool here: www.dcpss.org/educators/oregon-connections
- Participate in fun programming that allows you to explore career paths and learn the skills needed for a purposeful life at www.dcpss.org/brightworksclubs. Contact Elena Contreras at email@example.com or Isaac Norman at Isaac.firstname.lastname@example.org
To share your stories of STEAM Thinking, please contact us at email@example.com. With your permission, we will share pictures, videos and written narrative on our website, Facebook and Instagram!