Constructor Lab
Leadership Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Grades 8-12: Shifting From Siloed Science to Globally Relevant Integrated STEAM

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Wednesday, June 26, 8:00–10:00 am
Location: Posters: Level 4, Terrace Ballroom Lobby, Table 7

Joseph Kleinmann   Catherine Saldutti  
Science teachers and leaders can learn how to remove disciplinary silos in grades 8-12 to drive classroom curriculum using current global challenges — not textbook chapters. See how STEAM knowledge construction and communication is bolstered by authentic, evolving, free technologies that promote an integrated understanding of complex problems.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Principals/head teachers
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Access to a Google account is helpful but not necessary
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Instructional design and delivery
Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Science
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.
  • Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The benefits of connecting curricula to the real world are numerous and include student engagement, opportunity for student personalization and voice, authentic technology integration and community connections.. All real-world challenges and issues are integrated; they cannot be compartmentalized into school subjects. The disconnect in Grades 8-12, particularly in siloed science courses, reflect past precedent rather than intentional, future-ready curriculum designs. The poster session presenters demonstrate how integrated STEAM for Grades 8-12 makes authentic technology integration, student knowledge construction, and scientific communication more seamless and content-rich than siloed courses such as Biology I, Chemistry I, and Physics I. Catherine Saldutti has been the lead designer of this uniquely sophisticated learning model through 16 years of R&D and 12 years of school implementation, and Aaron Joseph Kleinmann has been both a teacher and a curriculum developer across different iterations of the program.

Through participation in this poster session, participants will be able to:

• Articulate why a well-designed integrated STEAM program requires intentional sequencing of age-appropriate problems, issues and challenges, such that science and engineering concepts are built incrementally over time

• Identify at least 3 currently available, free authentic STEM technologies that help students deepen content understanding, gather data to answer their own questions, and communicate findings effectively using STEAM tools and methods

• Give at least 3 reasons why using integrated, global contexts to drive curriculum in Grades 8-12 science is pedagogically preferable to the conventional siloed approach

Problem- and challenge-based learning (PBL) can be difficult for science teachers in Grades 8-12 to enact due to the perceived barrier of content coverage. In our experience, we have learned that removing subject silos and creating a multi-year experience allows both PBL and rich content coverage to enhance each other. A multi-year program also fosters the deepening of content understanding over time, which supports student knowledge construction more effectively than one-and-done topic coverage.

When we combine the benefits of a multi-year approach with real-world relevance, the incorporation of technology becomes more intuitive for teachers as well. Participants of this poster session will have the opportunity to:

• Walk through (and walk away with!) lessons and activity structures that both teach necessary science content and allow for the pursuit of student questions

• Take tours of authentic, free STEM databases, models and games that tap integrated conceptual understandings as well as literacy and computational skills

• See the intentional choices we make about how to guide student curation using these technologies, and how to guide the purpose, process and formats of related communication tasks

If we truly want to prepare students to tackle interdisciplinary global challenges, high schools must equip students with the requisite skills and conceptual understandings. Freely available technologies can serve these efforts, but only if curriculum is intentionally designed to map the same STEAM integration on which those technologies are predicated.

Supporting research

Chi, Michelene T. H. (2009) Active‐constructive‐interactive: A conceptual framework for differentiating learning activities. Topics in Cognitive Science 1 (1):73-105.

Costly, Kevin C. (2015) Research supporting integrated curriculum: Evidence for using this method of instruction in public school classrooms.

Fullan, Michael and Quinn, Joanne. (2015) Coherence: the right drivers in action for schools, districts, and systems. California: Corwin.

Gonzalez, Jennifer. (2017) To boost higher-order thinking, try curation. Cult of Pedagogy, accessed 9/20/2018 from

Harrell, Paul. (2010) Teaching an integrated science curriculum: Linking teacher knowledge and teaching assignments. Issues in Teacher Education, 19(1), 145-165.

Larison, Karen D. (2018) Taking the Scientist’s Perspective. Science & Education 27 (1-2):133-157.

Nelsen, Peter & Seaman, Jayson. (2011) Deweyan Tools for Inquiry and the Epistemological Context of Critical Pedagogy. Educational Studies: Journal of the American Educational Studies Association 47 (6):561-582.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2018) The Integration of the Humanities and Arts with Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Higher Education: Branches from the Same Tree. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Nielsen, Kristian. (2018). Ideas, politics and practices of integrated science teaching in the global Cold War. BJHS Themes, 3, 167-189.

Oludipe, Daniel I. (2011) Developing Nigerian integrated science curriculum. Journal of Soil Science and Environmental Management Vol. 2(8), pp. 134-145.

Papert, Seymour. (1992). The children’s machine: rethinking school in the age of the computer. NY: BasicBooks.

Papert, Seymour. (1993). Mindstorms: children, computers, and powerful ideas. (2nd edition). NY: BasicBooks.

Partnership for 21st Century learning. (2015) P21 framework definitions. Washington, DC.

Pearson, P. David, et al. (2010) Literacy and science: each in the service of the other. Science 328, 459.

Princeton University. (2018) What is integrated science? Lewis-Sigler Institute, accessed 9/20/2018 from

Saul, E. Wendy, ed. (2004) Crossing borders in literacy and science instruction: perspectives on theory and practice. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

UNESCO. (1968) Congress on the integration of science teaching. Droujba (Bulgaria), 11–19 September.

Valenzuela, Jorge. (2018) Embed literacy into STEM projects. ISTE blog, accessed 9/20/2018 from

Vega, Vanessa. (2012) Research-based practices for engaging students in STEM learning. Edutopia blog, accessed 9/20/2018 from

More [+]


Joseph Kleinmann, STEM PLN Leadership Team
Catherine Saldutti, EduChange, Inc.

Catherine Saldutti has 26+ years of experience in secondary education as teacher, administrator, PD provider, evaluator, and instructional designer. She founded EduChange in 2000 and her team served 350+ NYC schools, plus others in USA, Brazil, Bahamas, Malaysia, Japan & Mexico. After 12 years and ongoing scientific review, The Integrated Science Program is powered by Sustainable Open Educational Resources (SOER). Catherine holds a patent for Concept Construxions, a pattern-recognition system that helps learners construct concepts and academic language collaboratively. Catherine earned degrees from Stanford University and The Harvard Graduate School of Education, with an independent study on International Technology Education.

People also viewed

Creating Technology-Rich Learning Environments and School Culture - the ISTE Way!
Differentiation and More: Taking Google Forms to the Next Level
Enter Technology Heroes