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Hand Built Models

Model making is an inherently engaging, high investment activity. In order to guarantee their ideas communicate well to their audience (including the designers!) it is important to use organizers to help focus their thoughts. These same organizers also help guide young minds through the creative process, solving complex problems through design.

Hawthorne Elementary S.T.E.A.M Models

As part of generating ideas for their playground, 2-5th grade students at Hawthorne Elementary were asked to design play elements that supported their School’s multidisciplinary mission: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (S.T.E.A.M.). No small task!

Students began with a collage activity – “What gives me STEAM” – to review the five subject areas, and then got to work creating ‘teachable’ play elements.

A graphic organizer prompted students to choose terms from three columns: Play Themes (taken from Place Poems), STEAM Themes, and Learning Themes. This provided a subject area, activities and actions that would guide their design. Students picked a favorite S.T.E.A.M. lesson or experience and use the organizer to help create a STEAMable play element.

The resulting models inspired discussion at community meetings for the playground masterplan, and pushed designers to capture the creativity inherent in student voice.

What Gives Me S.T.E.A.M. collage