Kinetic Sculpture Waves: S.T.E.A.M vs STEAM

Four adventurous girls in my Physics class attempted to demonstrate the motion of waves by learning about small electrical motors and a bunch of metal shop by creating a work of kinetic art.

They worked daily for the better part of 3 months. We often spent lunch time together teaching physics of the day so that during their actually physics class, they could go to the shop.

Scroll down on the SWAY to view the student report

They had already known the physics of transverse waves from September, but they did not know the shop skills required to create a work of art. This is a high level of Transdisciplinary studies- a great example of the difference between S.T.E.A.M and STEAM.

STEAM has been a buzz word around education and science worlds for a little while, most examples have the ART as a last minute add on so that they can qualify for funding. In S.T.E.A.M. projects the disciplines remain in silos with limited connection. The science is not needed for the art, nor is the art needed for the science. At the extreme of this are projects where one group of students do the Science, another does the engineering and a third group does the art. It only becomes S.T.E.A.M when all the groups contribute their pieces together. However the interconnectivity and interdependence of the disciplines are not obvious to the individual students.

STEAM projects are fluid. Each discipline does not stand on its own but together they mean something meaningful. In this case, each individual student learned the science, learned to design in 3D, 3D print, cut metal, weld and spray paint.