One of the most common tools of contemporary education in the world is student-centered activities that enable students to question and think analytically. For this reason, scientific studies on student-centered activities have an important role in increasing the quality of education.
Our project aims to increase students’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and to provide a more qualitative integration of STEM disciplines. We have implemented a STEM activity: Let’s Create Lunapark, that our teachers applied for high school students. This activity has been developed for the subject of energy conversions. In this activity, students should think like engineers, scientists, mathematicians; produce products using technology, imagine and design, make a presentation and combine the tools. When they choose one of the roller carriages, for example, they have to take into account all elements: free-fall vehicle, slide, clown jumping out of the box, trampoline, Ferris wheel, ballerina, gondola. It is aimed to reveal the Discover wıth STEAM amusement park. At the same time, students are expected to comprehend scientific knowledge with this activity.
As a result of this activity, it was concluded that the students’ attitudes towards STEM activities were positive. In particular, they expressed positive opinions that design activities in lessons, technology-based education, and STEM activities are beneficial and enjoyable.
Why should we include student-centered activities in STEM education?
It is the priority of every country to acquire the skills and behaviors that individuals should have for the economic and technological development of the countries.
Students who develop their knowledge and skills in the fields of science, engineering, mathematics, technology, and arts will be able to use them in different activities to solve real-life problems. Furthermore, it will help them to learn practices that can be used in their daily routine and academic life or career in the future. The design activity done in the lessons can create a link between their real life.
With the work done for project implementation, we expect our students to:
• To raise creative and imaginative individuals. Individuals being flexible and able to reveal themselves.
• Each student can develop himself at the highest level in line with their own characteristics. Student can create unique learning technologies.
• To raise individuals who can be free from time and space constraints.
• To understand the nature of science, developing scientific thinking skills.
• To develop skills in using ICT tools.
• To develop the ability to produce alternative solutions to problems with simple materials and to be able to use engineering design processes to solve a problem they encounter.
Introduction: The engineering design process is presented to the students, and videos about the amusement park vehicles are watched.
Imagine: The students draft and design the vehicle they choose together with their groupmates.
Plan: The students identify the materials for their designs and plan how they would do it.
Create: Students create their designs in accordance with their plans.
Improve: Students exchange ideas with their group mates on how to improve and finalize their designs.
As the first step of the study process, we ask our students questions about energy transformations. We conduct a preliminary survey evaluation to determine whether they understand the issue. They are asked to give examples from daily life for the potential kinetic energy transformation. If you encounter a problem in your life, how would you solve it? This question will actually enable students to question and think analytically to produce real-life solutions to the problem. After the activity, the final questionnaire evaluation is applied to the students and the results are interpreted by comparing the data obtained at the end of the pre-survey.
The research assignments and digital posters we give to students help us activate the technology integration process.
It is our priority to educate our students who have low academic success in our schools, and who have the talent for fine arts, in the axis of art and creativity, and to bring them to society. As a result, students will take their place in society as individuals who have gained learning, information media and technology skills, real-life and professional skills, and be self-confident responsible citizens. Within the scope of the project, students will have important information about different STEAM applications. This will increase students’ motivation to come to school, as well as their self-confidence and communication skills, especially in a foreign language. In addition, students’ academic success will increase. Students will open their horizons with STEAM practices. In order to develop science and technology competencies in students, our projects will be published on our public twin space, project website, blog page, school websites.
About the author: Sergin Şahinoğullarıgil – Secondry school Maths teacher | STEM Educator / Turkey