Why Are STEAM Sessions Important?
Because students can learn new things.
Well, yes, technically that’s the right answer but there’s a lot more to it than that.
Fresh from Keele Hall and Higher Horizon+’s ‘Totally Awesome Science’ day- an event which offers students from different schools the opportunity to explore and experiment through different STEAM workshops- we found ourselves pondering this very question.
‘Totally Awesome Science’ is just one of the many events that we continue to take part in as we promote STEAM to learners across the city, but why do we hold workshops? Why should students take part in STEAM sessions?
First, it’s important to recognise that there is more than one kind of STEAM session. One size does not fit all and so we arrange sessions through careful discussion with school representatives based off their requirements around the age-range of learners and the areas they want students to learn about. It’s important to recognise that each school, much like each learner, is individual with their own set of needs.
In fact, one of the major reasons why STEAM sessions work so well is the recognition of individuals and their needs. After all, we all learn differently and have our own ways of approaching learning.
Wavemaker STEAM sessions allow students to experience three key benefits.
Workshops allow students to get ‘hands on’ whether as individuals or in small groups. This allows everyone to have the chance to join in on the activity and to experiment with new ideas.
Through challenges set throughout different workshops, students are presented with a problem and are asked to find potential solutions. These challenges widen their understanding of the topic as they steadily grow in confidence. Whether it’s introducing a new topic, or reintroducing one that’s been covered before, students are able to see, touch and experience the theory, helping to make it more memorable and easier to recall in the future.
Sometimes a topic might not appeal to an individual. A student might struggle to get invested in a workshop, making them feel discouraged or leading them to dismiss STEAM as something that just isn’t for them.
The problem is that some STEAM subjects- science and maths especially- have a reputation for being ‘boring’ or ‘hard’. That’s why, in our ‘carousel style’ sessions where numerous workshops are set up during a two-hour slot, students have the opportunity to sample lots of different activities. A student might struggle with programming but get invested in creating their own hovercraft. That student who may have ‘switched off’ before is reinvested and is actively taking part in learning more about friction and wind energy.
A lot of the workshops available incorporate real-world examples so that students can see how different skills and theory relate to career pathways or study routes.
When students are particularly invested in the topic, they may ask us questions about the equipment that has been used and where they might be able to get some to continue their study at home. Others go one step further, asking us about what options are available to them if they wish to pursue a future within STEAM.
We can help guide these students to sources of information and answer their questions whenever we can. What’s more, if a student expresses an ambition in regards to future study, teachers are then made aware of that student’s goals, allowing them to support their learner’s journey to their desired career path.
So, why? If we get down to the heart of the matter, why are STEAM workshops so important?
They’re important as they give students the freedom and permission to try. Students have the opportunity to unleash their imagination alongside their peers as they redefine their perception of STEAM subjects.
As we looked around the hall earlier today and saw the excited faces of students in attendance, we realised that while STEAM sessions help to achieve many things, they also help to leave a lasting impression.
For more information about our STEAM workshops, visit our products page.