Last week I was invited to tour Edgerton’s new STEAM Space by high school science teacher Tracy Rendleman who has with the assistance of the district administration and fellow science teachers Olivia Schaffner and Seth Schroeder, built a new learning space in the space formerly occupied by the library.

We started with a visit to her Biology class who were busy turning a pile of random lego bricks into something. These students are experiencing their introduction to form and function via STEAM  by trying to make something using their imagination. I asked the students if they liked playing with Legos again. There was a mixed response. One student noted that “I don’t know what to make. ” This highlighted for me the importance of trying these types of activities to re-engage the students using their imagination and to solve problems.

Next we headed over to the STEAM space to see some of the high school students working on their projects. The students were working, some in small groups, some independently on all kinds of projects. The teacher Seth Schroeder described each of the projects and the students elaborated on what they had learned.

One group of students was working with Lego Mindstorms and were testing some ideas on traction and were working with another group who had created a lifting system.

Another group had been working on connecting a solar cell to a DC electric motor to try and create a solar powered scooter. This group is sitting at a worktable which is on castors and has magnetic storage for the stools.

Here are some other features of the space. A student created a laser engraving machine, the design includes extensive use of wood. A peg board and workspace used by the Elementary students who also access the space. A 3D printer which was busy printing some parts for a student project.

We finished the visit with a look at the shop area that is used by both the STEAM and Ag programs. Students are building a hoop greenhouse from a kit purchased from Amazon.

Outside there is an aquaponics system that has been designed around a recycled freezer that was used last year to raise Tilapia. This year the system has been moved outside and the students will have to solve the problem of weatherproofing the aquaponics system for our Ohio winters.

What is interesting about the STEAM program at Edgerton is that the high school students are able to receive a science credit for the class and while it has a focus on the scientific method, the ideas of design thinking and problem solving are brought forward using engineering themes.

Many thanks to Tracy and the team at Edgerton for letting me visit.

Seth Schroeder has shared some materials that he uses with his 7th Grade class to introduce the engineering design process. (click the link and make a copy in your google drive)

Engineering Design Process Rubric

Engineering Design Process

Procedure for Scientific Method

Tracy Rendleman has shared her High School steam project outline and rubric. (click the link and make a copy in your google drive)

STEAM Project Outline

STEAM Rubric

Want to hear more about STEM and STEAM in Northwest Ohio? You can join the STEAM Coalition mailing list and Professional Learning community by visiting our form and filling out the request form.

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