What is AYS STEAM Week?
STEAM Week is a STEAM-education-focused project designed to provide experiential learning in a variety of STEM subjects with strong arts integration. For eight months during the school year (September-April), AYS program sites offer a STEAM Week theme with hands-on STEM activities that relate to a different arts topic. Each monthly STEAM Week provides activities each day that are intentional, in-depth and inter-related. We developed the AYS STEAM Week curriculum by determining one STEM and one arts concept that can be applied to engaging and exciting arts activities for each month of the school year. Activities are chosen that illustrate the concepts through hands-on experiences, offering multiple pathways to success. During the activities, the staff members ask concept-focused questions and let children do the cognitive work. Afterwards, interest is further supported with books, apps, videos and visits from content specialists.
What does AYS STEAM Week look like?
For example, a kinetic art STEAM Week activity was focused on engineering and abstract art. Children used a craft motor to design a machine that can move on its own and create marks on paper. Staff members leading the activity referred to variables and the engineering process as children worked through the building and testing of their machines. The children were encouraged to problem solve in groups and share information. As the machines began to make marks, staff members asked open-ended questions about the artistic nature of the drawing such as abstraction versus realism. Depending on technology access at each site, the students may have also watched a YouTube video of the French artist Jean Tinguely, who created such machines in the 1950’s. Additional activities for the week included building a spinning top to create designs and hanging abstract mobiles.
STEAM Week Themes 2018-2019
Mechanical Toys—Sculpture, Engineering
Optics & Illusions—Visual Art, Physiology
Digital Game Design—Graphic Design, Computer Science
Thrill Rides—Architecture, Physics
Ceramics—Sculpture, Earth Science
Upcycle Fashion Design—Visual Art, Engineering