Children’s STEAM Program Statement
STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics and is used to refer to a wide range of scientific studies. The “A” refers to the creative aspects of science. There has been an increase in STEM education and programming in the past decade since the 2006 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranked the scientific comprehension of American students 21st out of 30 developed nations. In 1966, 84% of STEM doctoral degrees were awarded to U.S. citizens. In 2004, that number was only 59%. In 2009, American teens ranked 23rd in science and 31st in math. At the same time, the U.S. Bureau of Statistics estimates that STEM jobs will grow twice as fast as other fields.
The National Research Council’s Board on Science Education (2016) found that out-of-school programs have been shown to contribute to young people’s interest in and understanding of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). These programs have been found to connect young people to caring adults who serve as role models and reduce the achievement gap. The STEM Education Coalition states that exposure to formal and informal learning in STEM subjects, beginning at an early age and continuing through high school prepares our nation’s students for the future. In fact, they report that it is vital to our country’s social and economic prosperity.
STEAM education prepares our children for the future by teaching them different ways of thinking, approaching, and examining a subject. It acts to create a curious mind and encourage a love of learning in the child. As a result, children will learn the skills they need to experience success and ultimately employment in the growing fields of science, engineering, technology and mathematics. Clearly, it is important for HML to offer STEAM activities to provide opportunities that support non-formal education. HML STEAM activities will include experimentation, imagination, and group participation, all crucial in the successful education of growing minds.
Our target audience will be patrons 16 years old and under. STEAM themes will be at the simplest level (basic science, art and math) in the birth through 7 year old programs. Special programs for children 8-16 years old will utilize new science/technology gadgets, including Littlebits, Sphero, Moss Robot, Minecraft, Lego Robotics, and microscopes.
The goal of the program is to create an inspiring and fun environment of learning where children acquire hands-on experience utilizing all aspects of STEAM. Discovery learning is the foundation for STEM education and participants will learn first-hand about the importance of experimenting, failing and problem solving to reach a desired outcome. It is our hope that STEAM activities will keep children up to date with innovations that are constantly changing and show how science, technology, engineering, art and math are related to each other and to everyday life.
STEAM Action Steps
SCIENCE: We will plan activities that investigate our Natural World or help to solve an actual world problem. (Ex. Using a Microscope to examine the unseen world then creating a comic strip with microorganisms as characters, testing the content of rainwater, growing a garden on the library grounds).
TECHNOLOGY: We will plan activities centered on the Minecraft Summer Program, Lego Robotics Club, Sphero, Littlebits, and Moss Robot. We can also have children examine other man-made products that meet a want or need on a simpler basis. How can you make a better airplane seat? Can you design an improved way to brush your teeth?
ENGINEERING: Children will use creativity and problem solving to design and construct during a design challenge. They will develop a plan, make a prototype, test and evaluate. This can be done in both a technological setting like Minecraft and Lego Robotics or with everyday objects like tower building, mazes, paper airplanes, marble runs. Materials can range from high tech and Legos to paper and straws.
Art: This is the glue that makes the STEAM program a success. Art is about creativity, design and expression and plays an integral role in STEAM activities. It allows for the right side of the brain to get in on the game. It doesn’t necessarily mean the children will be painting and sculpting their way through STEAM, but they will be adapting and designing their projects. Plus, incorporating art activities will inspire children who are not so tech minded.
Math: We will encourage the children to see the relevance of numbers, shapes, quantities and equations in everyday life and the role they play in each of the STEAM elements. Math challenges can be created for Minecraft and Lego Robotics on a technological level, or with pencil in hand creating Pi inspired graphs that can be converted to a skyscraper horizon or blueprints for a fantasy house.