What do a human stamp roller, a purple block of ice, and a melted plastic bag all have in common? Apart from sounding pretty silly, they represent some of our favorite STEAM activities here at Boston Children’s Museum. This October 21-26, the Museum is proud to celebrate Mass STEM Week, a statewide initiative to engage students in hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math activities. To support this event, we wrote up some of our tried and true STEAM activities on Instructables.com, so educators can incorporate them into learning outside of the Museum. Follow this link to check them out!
At Boston Children’s Museum, we encourage an integrated approach to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). The letters of STEAM frequently overlap and complement one another, especially in the context of working with children. We even designed our suite of Instructables to highlight the interdisciplinary nature of STEAM. An activity like ‘Exploring Ice’, for example, may seem like pure science…but upon further examination, this program actually checks all the boxes of STEAM:
- Science: observing natural phenomena, making predictions and observations
- Technology: using tools (examples of low-tech technology) to manipulate the ice
- Engineering: designing experiments and challenges with the materials
- Art: experimenting with color and paint
- Math: noticing patterns, measuring melted ice, and timing reactions
These activities all incorporate important STEAM Habits of Mind and Skills, which are highlighted in the introduction to each Instructable. When doing STEAM activities, it is important to focus not on finding the “right” answer, but instead to emphasize the skills children are building while participating, such as creative thinking, problem solving, or curiosity.
Some activities may emphasize one letter of STEAM more strongly than others or can be tailored to align with more traditional subject areas. Educators who plan to use these Instructables can adapt them to their students’ needs or their available resources.
STEM Week presents a great opportunity to get children more engaged with STEAM activities and ways of thinking, but grown-ups can get excited, too! Whether you are a classroom teacher, an out-of-school time educator, or any type of caregiver to a young child, we invite you to during STEM Week. And if you have tried our Instructables, let us know what you thought! We strongly encourage iteration, experimentation, and feedback.