The world is evolving at a rapid pace. New technologies emerge constantly, and this means society has to adapt and develop new skills.
This often requires an interdisciplinary approach. We need to teach children how subjects integrate and work together. They need to develop diverse skill sets and a passion for exploration and growth to be successful.
A perfect way to do this is by using STEAM learning.
Here, subjects are taught in an applied way as part of a bigger picture rather than a traditional approach that looks at subjects separately.
But what exactly is STEAM learning and what are the benefits of using this approach? How do Connetix Tiles support STEAM learning?
Let’s find out!
What Is STEAM Learning?
STEAM is the abbreviation for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. By incorporating Art into the original STEM learning model, we bring in personal expression, empathy, meaning-making, and the purpose of what children are learning. It is therefore an approach to learning that encourages children to think more broadly about real-world problems.
It’s this approach that helped create innovations like the original laptop computer and the iPhone.
To accomplish this, STEAM has several core components:
- It’s an integrated approach to learning that requires an intentional connection between standards, assessments, and lesson design or implementation.
- It requires at least two standards from science, technology, engineering, math, and arts to be taught and assessed together.
- Inquiry, collaboration, and an emphasis on process-based learning are the cornerstone of the STEAM approach.
- Using the integrity of the arts is essential to an authentic STEAM program.
Properly implemented, it helps students ask questions, connect the dots, solve problems, think creatively, and be innovative.
What Are The Benefits Of Steam Learning?
STEM Jobs are expected to grow by 16% in the US between 2014 and 2024 compared to 11% for other sectors. Also, science and engineering careers offer an increased income. Despite this, math performance is decreasing while STEM graduates are dropping out of their fields. STEAM can effectively solve this problem and ensure an exciting future for our children.
As part of the solution, STEAM learning offers the following benefits:
- It builds problem-solving and creativity skills. It teaches children that the most important foundational principles to solve problems lie in inquiry, critical thinking, and process-based learning while also encouraging them to be creative with the solutions they come up with.
- It encourages children to try new things. Many STEAM programs require risk-taking and experimentation that encourage children to try new things. In doing so they vanquish their fear of the unknown and it’s quite possible that they may find a passion or a talent that they didn’t know they had.
- It builds teamwork, cooperation, and leadership skills. STEAM programs help children to work together to solve problems, which is an excellent practice for real-world situations and it also helps children to determine their leadership and teamwork style to produce better solutions and grow in confidence.
- It encourages the application of knowledge. Because STEAM not only focuses on the “what” but also the “how”, children learn what types of tools and skills they need to solve a problem and how to apply those tools and skills to future problems.
- It helps children adapt to new things. With STEAM, children need to be able to take what they know from experience and apply it to new tasks and problems. Being able to adapt to any situation in this way is a great life skill that many children will need in the future.
To sum up, STEAM is vital to develop children’s intellect, thought processes, and creativity skills and shapes them into all-around successful individuals.
How Connetix Supports Steam Learning
Simply by playing with Connetix Tiles, children explore a wide range of STEAM disciplines and skills, often in an integrated way that encourages a deeper engagement of these STEAM areas and a connection between them.
Some of the ways Connetix Tiles encourage STEAM learning are:
- The tiles can be used in a different way every time children play. This creativity is important for many jobs of the future, and open-ended toys allow children to express themselves and think creatively, qualities that tie in with the STEAM problem-solving process.
- With Connetix, children can build anything they can dream of which encourages creativity, and, in the process, they learn about magnetism, gravity, shapes, design, and more.
- Magnetic force. Not only is Connetix a great way to discover magnetic force, but it is also a great way to learn about the attraction of two magnets of opposite poles.
- Connetix sets may include 2D shapes like squares, triangles, and rectangles that can be used as 2D building tiles or 3D shapes. Children learn and understand the shape and each of its properties, like how many sides, corners, faces, or edges it has. Also, by building larger shapes, children learn to design and how shapes interact with one another.
- There are so many ways children learn counting when playing with Connetix. For instance, they can look at how many tiles can be used in a tower before it falls or how many squares they need to build a cube.
- Patterns and symmetry. Connetix is a simple way to expose children to symmetry and patterns by having them make patterns and mandalas with the tiles.
- Connetix is a great way to explore colours and it’s also an excellent way to learn about light, translucency by creating beautiful, coloured reflections and refractions.
- Weight, stability and balance. Exploring weight, stability and balance is a natural part of playing with Connetix tiles. Children discover how tall they can build structures before they collapse, and they can figure out what is needed to create stable structures. In doing so, they experiment with gravity and weight.
- Cooperation and teamwork. Using Connetix is the perfect way to encourage teamwork and cooperation while building something.
- Problem-solving. While playing with Connetix, children can explore the concept of problem-solving and develop their problem-solving skills as they navigate building structures, either alone or with friends, by working out the most effective way to achieve their building ideas and designs.
Ideas For Playing With Connetix That Encourage Steam Learning
When looking at the above it’s easy to see why the possibilities with Connetix tiles are endless. Children can think of anything their heart desires and build it. In the process, and figuring out how to build it, they develop essential STEAM skills.
Some ideas to get them started are:
- Giant rainbow frames.
- Colour sorting boxes.
- Giant houses or structures.
- Rainbow doorways.
- Metal basket grid building.
STEAM and STEM are not new concepts, they are simple ways of understanding and applying an integrated approach to learning that resembles real life. So, instead of learning math or science as separate disciplines, they can be taught together in a way that shows children how those different fields compliment and support each other.
By playing with Connetix, children learn these disciplines and how they work together in a fun and engaging way.