Transnational STEAM

The International Conference on Transnational Collaboration in STEAM Education (http://stemstates.org/stemfest-malaysia-2013/international-conference-on-transnational-collaboration-on-steam-education.html) will follow on the heels of the World Conference on Science and Technology Education (http://worldste2013.org) this October.

The venue will be the University of Malaysia Sarawak (http://www.unimas.my/index.php/en/) in the lovely city of Kuching on the Island of Borneo.

The conference organizers at Science House Foundation (http://sciencehousefoundation.org) see the arts/design as part of an integrated approach to science education. The conference will feature panelists discussing the role of art and creativity in science.

Pinnacles at Mulu, Gunung Mulu National Park, Borneo

Pinnacles at Mulu, Gunung Mulu National Park, Borneo

While K12 education is emphasized on the conference website, post-secondary and higher education will be discussed. The call for papers ends May 30th.

Bornean Orangutan

Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)

Kuching is one of the neatest little cities in the world, and Borneo is known for its extraordinary biological and cultural diversity.

Chinese Gateway at Friendship Park, Kuching

Chinese Gateway at Friendship Park, Kuching

Dunk Tank Flambé

Ferris Wheel at Night (Tfioreze)

Ferris Wheel at Night

Okay, computer science  and engineering professors. Brent Bushnell and Eric Gradman of Two Bit Circus have proposed a Carnival of the Future with robots, a dunk tank flambé, a laser maze, a ring toss with ignition, even a motion-capture mechanical bull. The development and making of these high tech games require computer science, art and design, engineering, and math. Then the community gets to learn about STEM through interaction with the games. Check out the work of Two Bit Circus at: http://twobitcircus.com

Is their form of artisanal engineering adaptable to the undergraduate or graduate classroom?

If you’d like to support their vision, and I encourage you to do so, visit: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/twobitcircus/steam-carnival-0

A Yarn About Anatomy

Many STEM professors knit or crochet, as do many STEM students. Artist Shanell B. Papp studied human anatomy from a borrowed skeleton and anatomy text books as she crocheted an anatomically-correct skeleton, complete with internal organs. This work also requires mathematical skills. Check out Ms. Papp’s work at: http://shanellpapp.com/textiles/#jp-carousel-126

Shanell Papp (used with permission)

Shanell Papp (used with permission)

Act Like You Mean It

If you think some professors can be stiff in front of a classroom, you should see their students!  Many university STEM courses require students to give presentations. Few seniors can present well, and some students even leave graduate school with lousy presentation skills, hence professors who give uninspiring and even off-putting lectures. There’s considerable overlap between presentation skills and acting skills. Nancy Houfek, Head of Voice and Speech for the American Repertory Theatre, has given some wonderful workshops on Teaching as Performance through the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning of Harvard University. The first two videos in this Boc Center series (http://tinyurl.com/dxqxhv8) feature Ms. Houfek’s workshops. The videos were designed for professors, but when your STEM students present they become teachers, so these videos would be appropriate to share with them as well.

Dry ice is carbon dioxide in solid form. At room temperature it goes directly from a solid to a gaseous state through a process called sublimation. Dry ice is sometimes used to create a fog effect for the theater.

Dry ice is carbon dioxide in solid form. At room temperature it goes directly from a solid to a gaseous state through the process of sublimation. Dry ice is sometimes used to create a fog effect for the theater.

The topics addressed include:

  • Teacher/Presenter/Actor preparation
  • Landing your energy
  • Audience engagement
  • Addressing stage fright
  • The use of breath
  • Taking pleasure in words, even technical ones
  • The use of metaphors to address different learning styles
  • Waking up the body
  • Opening up the voice

There’s even an illustrated guide to the workshop exercises that could be adapted for your STEM classroom: http://bokcenter.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic650252.files/actguide.pdf Break a leg.