Inside SFS

What’s Your STEAM Identity?

4th and 5th Graders participated in creative introductory lessons on growth mindset and the principles of STEAM.

By Emma Martin, 4th & 5th Grade Math Teacher

The 4th and 5th Graders have started their year with a renewed passion for their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) studies, and we are already hard at work learning about new concepts, reading engineering-related literature, and discussing important ideas like growth mindset.

To begin, 4th and 5th Grade students had a conversation about the similarities between being a STEAM student and solving a jigsaw puzzle, brainstorming about the mindset one would need to approach a 1,000 piece puzzle. Students agreed that it wouldn’t be fair or realistic to expect someone to dump out the pieces and know where each one goes immediately; it’s a process with many iterations and failures before there’s even the hope of success.

Some of the strategies they thought were applicable to puzzle-solving and STEAM included: make sense of the problem as you go (for example, using the picture on the puzzle box as a guide), make an estimate (in this case, find the corner and edge pieces first), use strategies you know and like (like grouping pieces by color or image), and experiment and use failure to improve (try many different pieces to find a fit).

Students then created their own puzzles, called STEAM Identity Puzzles, in which they reflected on their STEAM-related goals for the year. They identified specific skills they wanted to improve, and traits they hope to develop over the course of the year. Individual goals ranged from  working on “being okay with failure,” to feeling more confident as a math and science student, to becoming a more persistent learner, to learning about neuroscience and chemistry!

Student work will be displayed throughout the fall, then put into envelopes as a STEAM time capsule to be opened at the end of the year, so that students can reflect on what they’ve accomplished in a year. It’ll be exciting to see how far they come!


Posted September 11, 2018