So You Want To Have A STEAM Night For Your School

A successful STEAM night in the end will make you say “Thanks!” and it will have you truly recognizing the amazing resources that you have not only in your own educational community but also within the community of resources and connections who are willing to support your district STEAM vision.

In my district we have spent the past few years identifying, collaborating and implementing a range of STEAM focused activities, programs and curriculums. We have also taken advantage of a range of professional associations with Higher Education, Regional Workgroups to support our districts STEAM conversations and internal collaboration. These connections support a deeper vision for STEAM in our schools and a concentrated effort to continue the supporting the many moving parts making education exciting and engaging for all students.

Traditionally, many academic departments operate in a “siloed” often curriculum discussions are held between stakeholders around topics which generally provide self sufficiency to their ends but don’t always have the opportunity to collaborate, cross curriculums and create more authentic experiences to students. Alas, the four C’s of Creativity, Collaboration, Communication and Critical Thinking must work across leadership,teachers and students simultaneously.

A Few Well Intentioned STEAM District Questions:

How are departments collaborate in interdisciplinary ways? (makerspaces,curriculum development, cross curriculum teams?)

How do departments and schools communicate around STEAM innovation? Do they communicate? What is your “State of STEAM”? Support multiple visions to enable adoption.

What does the “New Art” look like in your school- Is your district embracing the “New Digital Arts”

STEAM & Personalized Learning Initiatives “Think Holistically”

It is my belief that it is much easier to have a holistic approach to bring departments and learning initiatives together. STEAM brings people and ideas together and it is better to see the interconnectedness of curriculums and how they can work together to bring interdisciplinary opportunities to students.

There is always continual work to do in interdisciplinary approaches but I would suggest that our work with MAPLE on supporting Personalized Learning allows us to be more open and engaged with curriculum approaches which meet a range of needs.

Catalyst District With MAPLE

21st Century Rubrics

Embedded Digital Learning, Computer Science and Robotics in Middle School

Strong Arts, Science and Digital Learning Program

It is much easier to have a holistic approach to bring departments and learning initiatives together. STEAM brings people and ideas together.

Catalyst District With MAPLE

21st Century Rubrics

Embedded Digital Learning, Computer Science and Robotics in Middle School

Strong Arts, Science and Digital Learning Program

How Our STEAM Night Began

We had discussions around a digital learning night but felt as though our growth across content areas in STEAM was something worth sharing and aligned with many of the goals of interdisciplinary learning. Expand your vision!

We decided on a date in June to hold our STEAM event. This provided and opportunity for us to get our ducks in a row around identifying outside resources and those who we feel could be involved. Plan long term!

We initially identified teachers who we felt would be interested in the event and Reached out to their willingness and availability to present a demonstration or table for the event. At this point we really had not fully decided on the layout of the event other than we planned on holding in the Main Street area of MS/HS with table demonstrations. Identify Teacher & Student Leaders

Target Audience

Community members

Students and Families

Supporters of STEAM Initiatives

Working With Staff Presenters and Outside Groups

Once teachers returned in the fall and at this point we connected with them on what they felt could be their presentation or table demonstrations. Many science groups/classes felt they had something they could contribute. Our Digital Learning teachers from all schools had tables representing all schools. Open opportunities for all departments in STEAM content to participate. Take advantage of teacher leaders.

We decided early on to involve a central speaker group the ‘Women Of STEAM/STEM” from Fidelity. This was a group which had connected with me a year before and we did not have an opportunity to utilize the resource until we decided to have a district STEAM night. Take Advantage Of Your Community Offerings

Pulling It All Together

With our table demonstrations and presentations coming together it became time to solidify the participants who were coming in from outside organizations and to begin to visualize the event. These steps included finalizing the key speakers. Create an events of the evening document and finalizing the evite.

Writing an engaging and descriptive description.

Take advantage of the swag that your participants might be able to provide

Consider the experiences of your visitors and plan on attendants of all school ages.

Planning within Your Facility

Floor Plan

Planning for an engaging experience

Food

Community Partners

Raffle

What We Gained!

Higher level conversations around the work we do in all schools around interdisciplinary learning and STEAM content areas.

Greater buy-in from departments on contributing in district events and sharing

What we would do different next time!

Based on our experiences we feel our first event was a success but there are always opportunities to improve an event like a STEAM night.

Feedback for us

What we would do different next time!

Based on our experiences we feel our first event was a success but there are always opportunities to improve an event like a STEAM night.