Are you looking for a way to jazz up the STEAM (STEM + arts) programming at your school? Try combining hands-on STEAM with authentic global learning. Level Up Village partners U.S. students one-on-one with peers in the developing world for meaningful cultural exchange and collaboration on STEAM projects. Students communicate with their global partners each class period via video message exchange to share their findings, learn about each other’s lives and collaborate on real-life applications of their learning.
We know STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) is important, but how do we make these subjects accessible and approachable for children? Starting early may be the key. Here are four reasons why you shouldn’t wait to introduce STEAM:
“What IS this?” exclaimed Grace. Her eyes widened behind her goggles at she leaned closer to her snake specimen to get a better look. In the middle of the dissection, she had discovered what seemed to be several more little snakes, all coiled up in the abdomen. The other girls clustered around to see.
“First we thought the snake had possibly eaten another snake, but we kept looking and found more and more,” said Jennifer Beck, a teacher at Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Houston, Texas. “We weren’t expecting a pregnant one, so we had to do a lot of Internet research, and we learned not all snakes lay eggs. Some carry their young.”
The girls were participating in Level Up Village’s Global Doctors – Anatomy as part of “DASH into Summer,” a summer enrichment program run by Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart.
At Delbarton, an all-boys Benedictine School in Morristown, New Jersey, we have been looking for global connections, but struggled with the logistics involved in this kind of collaboration. We decided to pair our 8th grade science students with an all-girl’s school, and see what happens. So far, the results have been amazing.
Our 8th graders sent video introductions to an all-girls school in Uganda yesterday. Let us just let the reality of that settle in for a moment.
Only 16% of high school students are proficient in math and interested in a STEAM (STEM + arts) career, according to the U.S. Deptartment of Education, yet eight out of ten jobs of the future are geared towards graduates in STEAM fields. We’re working hard to prepare kids for the jobs of the future, and we bet you are, too. Here are some online resources for activities you can do to enrich children’s understanding of STEAM subjects.
Children at Asociacion CREAR in one of the poorest areas of rural Costa Rica recently teamed up with students at a summer program in Houston, Texas, for two hands-on STEAM (STEM + arts) courses. Together, they took Global Minecraft Builders and Pied Piper Engineering with Level Up Village, a provider of global STEAM enrichment to more than 50 U.S. schools in 12 states and over 30 Global Partner organizations in 19 countries.
During each class period, the children exchanged video messages about the project they were working on with their individual partners in the other country. Though they had never collaborated globally before, the kids quickly embraced it.
Looking to inspire kids to fully engage in their learning this coming school year? Experts say that children need to tackle real-world problems and come up with creative solutions. One great way to foster this type of authentic learning is through hands-on STEM activities. Check out these resources for some ideas:
A shoemaker by day, 15 year-old Raman is a student by night in Mumbai, India.
He recently took Level Up Village’s Global App Developers through LUV’s Global Partner Masoom Education Group and was inspired by the experience to fully engage in his studies and pursue his dream of becoming an engineer.
“Before, Raman didn’t like school and never showed up for any of the school activities. Now he is passionate about his goals and ready to work hard,” said Vishvajeet Pawar, Specialist, Masoom Education Group.
All over the world, Level Up Village (LUV) programs provide K-9 students with hands-on, engaging STEAM (STEM + arts) activities that make STEAM accessible and inspiring.
Last spring, when students from The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine in New York City took Level Up Village’s Global Minecraft Builders course, they were paired with partner students at iEARN Pakistan in Karachi, and the result was extraordinary one-to-one global collaboration.
“They built a transportation system at Pakistan’s suggestion, a hospital that Cathedral organized, and even a collaborative flower garden, which required both classes to recall their point plotting skills from an earlier class.”
That was the opening question in a video message from a young student at the Innovative Minds School in India. Masha, a U.S. student at Fisher Island Day School (FIDS) in Miami Beach, Florida, walked over the class sink and turned on the faucet. “This is how I get my water,” she said.
Then the student in India responded that many people in her community don’t have that option. In fact, she explained, getting water was quite difficult.
“It was an eye-opener for Masha,” said Lynn deAraujo a second grade teacher at FIDS.
This cross-cultural exchange was facilitated by Level Up Village (LUV), which began working with FIDS in the 2013-14 school year as part of the school’s push to increase STEAM programming.