When the final bell of the day rings, many students are excited to toss their books, hang out with friends, and blow off some steam. (pun intended) But during the COVID pandemic, a group of students at Milburn High School had different plans. Drawing upon their own personal experiences as students, these driven teens had a simple goal in mind: to share their passion for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) by helping to make science as fun and engaging as possible for younger students.
United by a common goal, the students switched roles to try their hands at teaching others. Led by co-founders Ria Bhavaraju and Nemma Kalra, this 15-member team spent their time in the pandemic, while isolated at home, honing their interests and creating science content. The STEAM team was born.
For Students, by Students
As students themselves, the STEAM Team offers a unique perspective into education by creating lessons they themselves would enjoy learning.
The STEAM Team makes science content for middle school students. Since members of the club are in high school, they remember their own experiences learning science in middle school, and they hope to pique younger students’ interest in STEM.
Club members are given the freedom to create assignments on topics that interest them, leading to a wide array of lessons for teachers to pick from. As far as sharing their work, the team identified Edulastic as the place where they wanted to host and distribute their STEM lessons for teachers to use with their students.
Using a Unique Perspective to Help younger Students with Online Learning
We sat down with Ria to learn more about the STEAM Team’s work, the importance of student voices in education, and how educators can incorporate the team’s dynamic STEM activities into the classroom.
Student engagement is at the core of the STEAM Team’s mission. When asked what inspired her and her friends to form the team, club co-founder Ria cites observations about student learning during the pandemic. “My friend and I started this club in the summer of last year because we noticed that during the pandemic, younger students were having a harder time focusing during the online schooling process. We wanted to create a club to fix this, and we thought that the best solution to this would be trying to make lessons more engaging.”
Ria and the team believe that interactive content is the key to keeping students engaged and to fostering a longstanding interest in STEM. In fact, Ria’s own inclination for science began with an interactive science fair. With the goal of interactivity and engagement in mind, Ria and her friends set out to create fun and exciting science lessons.
Creating Dynamic and Engaging Activity Sets
Still students themselves, the team focuses on creating engaging lessons that they, themselves would enjoy learning in the classroom. “As students, we bring a unique perspective to the idea of teaching others, because we know what teachers need to do in order to help us succeed in class,” says Ria. “We can incorporate what we think we need in class, and try to implement that in the things we do for other students so that they can also succeed in the classroom.” For Ria and her fellow club members, this means loading their activity sets with engaging videos, experiments, and simulations.
Working from their own personal learning experience, the STEAM Team hopes that these dynamic lessons will help students better understand scientific material and foster a lasting interest in STEM.
Teach Science with the STEAM Team
On Edulastic, you’ll find STEAM Team content on everything from ecology, to plant biology, to pollution. During this process of preparing the content for Edulastic, the students got an inservice on the Next Generation Science Standards so they could tie their questions to standards, as well as training about assessment writing. The final product was reviewed and approved by the Edulastic team.
Each activity set contains a short 5 to 10-minute presentation on the topic followed by an interactive element, such as a video, game, simulation, or quiz. For example, the team’s lesson on macromolecules begins with a 7-minute lesson video, followed by a 13 question assignment. Students who want to learn more about macromolecules can select the games/simulations/further videos tab for a list of engaging supplemental learning materials, such as the ‘Macromolecule Man’ game, additional lesson videos, and recorded experiments.
Preview the STEAM Team Lessons and Activities
Click the links below to preview how the lessons and activities look to students on Edulastic. To access the suite of STEAM Team offerings and assign them to your class, use the button below.
The STEAM Team’s 15 activity sets are now available in the Edulastic Certified Library. With content created mainly for middle school students, these lesson activities will be right at home in a 6th, 7th, or 8th-grade science classroom. These short activity sets are designed to supplement larger lessons and are editable so teachers can modify them to meet the needs of their own students and lessons. Members of the club recommend utilizing their lessons as a pre-test, an exit ticket, or a dynamic addition to your own lesson.
What’s Next for the STEAM Team
The STEAM Team plans to continue creating science content focused on student engagement in the upcoming school year. Marked by their own experience as students, the team hopes to instill the same passion for science they’ve found into the students who use these activity sets. When asked about her favorite experience the club has given her, Ria replied, “I’ve enjoyed converting my insight as a student into being a teacher because I know that the activity sets are coming from what I think I need in the classroom. I hope that these lessons will help at least one student.”
Dive into Edulastic. See results at your school.
- Sign up for your FREE Edulastic teacher account to access STEAM Team lessons.
- Watch why and how other science educators are using Edulastic
- Read about how you can expand your content bank with SparkScience.