STEAM and Discovering Bridges

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The ability to bring excitement and passion to children is through hands on learning and integrating the use of video in the instructional process. The implementation of hands on learning along with interactive engagement and passion allows students to retain information longer and apply to other areas of knowledge.

We are in a knowledge based century with access to information from dynamic sources, children need to be taught to think on levels not prioritised in the past, but how to solve the problems of the present an future. The same issues that plague the world in various scales African nations that are expanding technologically are seeing. The main one is education, that is the key to not allowing technological colonisation where the citizens are left out

of educational and employment opportunities.

Children, youth and teens of today are dynamic learners that require attention drawing excitement to encourage participation and knowledge retention. The learning will come as children work independently and collaboratively solving problems. More African nations are realizing this as they model their STEM and STEAM curriculums like the


STEM, STEAM, STREAM, CSTREAM and STEMsquared if  applied correctly can change the value of learning when applied to relevancy and reality. STEAM and Discovering Bridges of Jacksonville was a unique learning opportunity at Tristian’s Accelerated Academy directed by Arlene Lloyd, educator and STEM advocate in Jacksonville, Florida.

Holding workshops the first and third Saturday of each month for the past three years Mrs. Llyod has provided the community with resources that excite learning and offer an interactive opportunity for children of Jacksonville to be engaged and excited about learning.

The session for Discovering Bridges of Jacksonville was provided by William Jackson, educator, blogger, and STEAM advocate himself involved the children elementary age in the world of engineering and design. The students watched and critiqued videos that shows the bridges (7) of Jacksonville, the date they were built, who they were named after, the length of each bridge and brief history

Knowledge connections where discussed as the importance of bridges in connecting cities, communities and families. In order for children to grasp the concepts and objectives they must understand how to apply their  learning and why it is important to them. This helps develop critical and higher order thinking skills.  STEM teachers are transformative models of change and growth for children because they must adapt and integrate learning to cover multiple areas or should be.

Business and industry leaders in all communities especially African should take note of what students are learning in STEAM classes around the world because these are the future employees, innovators and creators. It is easier to hire locally than import or outsource jobs to foreign countries.

During the workshop the children eventually were paired in teams and provided building materials (manipulatives) and where allowed to build their own bridges. The requirements where; name their bridge, identify the surrounding environment, where the bridge would take travellers, how long is the bridge and the materials for its construction. Students are taught outside of a book, the integration of multiple resources is necessary to
embrace multi-disciplinary learning that is deliberate and planned.

These criteria allow children to build their learning on a level that allows them to retain important information and apply to their levels of understanding and application. Diversifying the access to information and resources helps each child to enable their learning modality or how they learn. Each child is different in the diversity of how they process information, how they apply information and even how long they retain information.

STEM and STEAM allow for hands on learning that increases the excitement and passion for learning in children.  The integration of Science Technology Engineering and Math is growing at phenomenal rates globally because of successes by the growth in student test scores, the excitement to come to school and the knowledge that there is something available for the students that identify themselves as the Geeks, Nerds, Blerds and Bleeks of schools.

“STEM innovation will open doors for students of color and culture.”
The future of STEM education | Roni Ellington | TEDxBaltimore

Resources:Africa Depends on STEM Education

What STEM Can Do for Education

STEM Motivational Video

Introduction to STEM | Elementary

Why Is STEM Important?

Interview – STEM and Kids

STEM and The Black Woman

William is the digital innovator for his brand My Quest To Teach using the hashtag #MyQuestToTeach sharing his journey teaching,  mentoring,

community activism and community collaborations.

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