Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Add Rigor and Relevance to Student Learning by Incorporating Ongoing STEAM Centers

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Wednesday, June 26, 8:00–10:00 am
Location: Posters: Level 4, Terrace Ballroom Lobby, Table 30

Dr. Alice Christie  
Explore how to create STEM/STEAM centers that are cross-curricular, use a hands-on approach, engage students in evidence-based learning, honor mistakes as learning opportunities, encourage learners to explore new possibilities, require students to engage in creative and critical thinking, support collaborative learning and focus on inquiry.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Principals/head teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Innovative learning environments
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.
For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The goal of STEAM education is to integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Arts education to change the way students think, approach ideas, solve problems, research, and plan and execute a design process. Our goal as teachers is to create motivating learning environments that:
• push students to go deeper and master rigorous science, technology, engineering, mathematical, and arts skills and concepts
• prepare students to solve problems
• demand critical thinking
• provide scaffolding to develop the STEAM skills that will enable students to become independent learners.

Design is a vital part of the STEAM experience. It includes identifying a problem or idea, designing a solution or process, implementing the solution and evaluating the solution. This is often a recursive process that leads back to redefining the problem or brainstorming alternative solutions. As such, students benefit when they learn though mistakes and fine-tune their thinking in each successive step in the recursive process. Taking an abstract or concrete idea and utilizing it takes the ability think both creatively and critically; both types of thinking are part of STEAM thinking!

This poster is designed to specifically help teachers to integrate STEAM instruction, processes and principles into their schools and classrooms. It provides numerous instructional strategies and resources for teachers wishing to create more STEAM-centric classrooms that feature STEM/STEAM centers that:
• are cross-curricular
• use a hands-on approach
• engage students in evidence-based learning
• honor mistakes as learning opportunities
• encourage learners to explore new possibilities
• require students to engage in creative and critical thinking
• support collaborative learning
• ask probing and divergent questions of learners.

Developing open-ended, probing, elaborating or divergent questions is difficult. Teachers need to develop and hone the skill of asking the types of questions that engage and enable students to think deeply, promote student inquiry, increase student engagement and achievement. This poster provides examples of the kind of questions that will enable teachers to transform their classrooms from traditional teacher-centered classrooms to environments where students are:
• empowered learners
• knowledge constructors
• innovative designers
• computational thinkers
• creative communicators
• global collaborators
• model digital citizens


• Examples of STEM/STEAM across a variety of content areas and grade levels
• Review of materials useful for STEM/STEAM centers
• Instructional strategies that incorporate STEM/STEAM centers
• Examples of open-ended, probing, elaborating or divergent questions


• Exploring STEM/STEAM centers every 10 minutes throughout the poster using hands-on materials, photos, and videos
• Handout of questioning strategies (as requested)
• Answering participants’ questions


• Interacting with participants
• Sharing examples of STEM/STEAM centers
• Providing time and guidance on questioning strategies
• Answering questions posed by participants

Supporting research

Basham J.D., Koehler C.M., Israel M. (2011) Creating a “STEM for All” Environment. In: Johnson C.C. (eds) Secondary STEM Educational Reform. Secondary Education in a Changing World. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Brown, Ryan; Brown, Joshua; Reardon, Kristin; Merrill, Chris. Understanding STEM: Current Perceptions, Technology and Engineering Teacher, v70 n6 p5-9 Mar 2011.

Bybee, Rodger W. Advancing STEM Education: A 2020 Vision
Technology and Engineering Teacher, v70 n1 p30-35 Sep 2010.

Glancy, Aran W. and Moore, Tamara J., "Theoretical Foundations for Effective STEM Learning Environments" (2013). School of Engineering Education Working Papers. Paper 1.

National Research Council. (2011). Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Committee on Highly Successful Science Programs for K-12 Science Education, Board on Science Education and Board on Testing and Assessment, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Prettyman, Sandra Spickard; Ward, Cheryl L.; Jauk, Daniela; Awad, Ghada. 21st Century Learners: Voices of Students in a One-to-One STEM Environment. Journal of Applied Learning Technology. Fall2012, Vol. 2 Issue 4, p6-15. 10p.

Tate, D., Chandler, J., Fontenot, A., & Talkmitt, S. (2010). Matching pedagogical intent with engineering design process models for precollege education. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 24(3), 379-395.

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Dr. Alice Christie, Arizona State University

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