STEAM Up Learning Outdoors! 15+ Ideas to Try Now or this Summer!

STEAM Up Learning Outdoors! 15+ Ideas to Try Now or this Summer!
  • These are 6 characteristics of a great STEAM lesson I’ve adapted from EdWeek:
    • Connect & integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math
    • Real world learning
    • Hands-on inquiry
    • Cooperative learning
    • Multiple right answers
    • Engineering Design Process (EDP)
  • Connect & integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math
  • Real world learning
  • Hands-on inquiry
  • Cooperative learning
  • Multiple right answers
  • Engineering Design Process (EDP)
  • Send them on field research!
    • For young learners, they can go on nature walks, observe, and take photos of the nature, ecosystems, animals, and bugs in their environment. Observation logs are just one of the 32 resources in Hacking Learning with Edtech Missions.
    • I’ve had students collect water samples with SAWS engineers, bird watch with park rangers, analyze clouds with meteorologists, and fossil hunt with local paleontologists.
    • Students can document their observations using the iNaturalist iOS/Android app.
    • They can include their observations, photos, and research in interactive field guides or digital scrapbooks using iBooks, EduBuncee, or Book Creator. There is one mission dedicated to this in my book.
  • For young learners, they can go on nature walks, observe, and take photos of the nature, ecosystems, animals, and bugs in their environment. Observation logs are just one of the 32 resources in Hacking Learning with Edtech Missions.
  • I’ve had students collect water samples with SAWS engineers, bird watch with park rangers, analyze clouds with meteorologists, and fossil hunt with local paleontologists.
  • Students can document their observations using the iNaturalist iOS/Android app.
  • They can include their observations, photos, and research in interactive field guides or digital scrapbooks using iBooks, EduBuncee, or Book Creator. There is one mission dedicated to this in my book.
  • Go on a scavenger hunt! Try these apps and web tools- KlikaKlu app, Goose Chase app, QRWild.com, and the Qr Treasure Hunt Generator.
  • Geocaching is where you search for little treasures people hide using GPS coordinates. Many are at local parks or landmarks.
  • One of the most important parts of STEAM is guiding students through various processes of inquiry, observation, design, collaboration, and problem-solving. For the following activities below get students to employ the scientific method and the Engineering Design Process. This article by ASCD has a nice visual and information about combining these processes.
  • Students collaborate in small groups to invent rides for a future amusement park, construct a course for an art history mini-golf course, or design playground equipment (click here for an additional lesson plan) at their school or for a local park.
  • Playground STEAM:
    • Students work in pairs to study the math and physics of the slides, swings, or other playground equipment. They create questions, make predictions, test these out, collect data, and come to conclusions.
    • Students can measure their shadows at different times of the day. Get them to bring in other objects and draw what they predict the shadows will be depending on the time and location.
    • Get them to test different distances and angles with their bodies playing different sports to improve their game.
    • Group students to experiment with designing and testing out their designs for creating kites, paper airplanes, rockets, or ships.
  • Students work in pairs to study the math and physics of the slides, swings, or other playground equipment. They create questions, make predictions, test these out, collect data, and come to conclusions.
  • Students can measure their shadows at different times of the day. Get them to bring in other objects and draw what they predict the shadows will be depending on the time and location.
  • Get them to test different distances and angles with their bodies playing different sports to improve their game.
  • Group students to experiment with designing and testing out their designs for creating kites, paper airplanes, rockets, or ships.
  • Another mission in my book is about citizen science. Researchers and scientists have created tons of free projects students can join and contribute important research they conduct outdoors and indoors.
  • Find projects open to students and the public at SciStarter.com and Zooniverse.org.
  • To inspire learning in the summer add them to a digital calendar that students click on to see the activity and receive a digital badge for completing the activity. In a later post I’ll include an example of a Summer STEAM Challenge Digital Calendar for students.

Challenge: Try one of these STEAM inspired activities to motivate students to investigate the science and math in their surroundings.

cross posted at teacherrebootcamp.com

Shelly Terrell is an education consultant, technology trainer, and author. Read more at teacherrebootcamp.com.