Improving STEAM Spaces

What Is STEAM And Why Is It Important?

Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Maths (STEAM) is a way of education that encourages active exploration in these subjects. Often student-led, the aims are built around solving problems with data, flexibility and creativity, for a broader learning experience both individually and collaboratively. These subjects are vital for students to learn – and explore how to learn – to best develop their understanding and maximise their results.

How Can We Make The Best STEAM Space In Our School?

Students need to be intellectually curious and their learning environments should encourage and support their abilities. Multi-use classroom layouts should promote discussion or solo working that directly stems from questions from students and are guided by the teacher. Links can be drawn between different subjects to show that they feed into each other to strengthen belief about their own abilities and how to arrive at answers. Efficient and up-to-date technology will give students the confidence to search online for research methods to support their findings.

What Does A STEAM Space Actually Look Like?

Flexible, multi-functional learning spaces that can quickly be changed are key for STEAM learning. Small groups that can do practical tasks and challenges give students the added skill of creating their own mini-environment where they can discuss and collaborate with their peers. Classroom furniture (seating, desks and storage) should be mobile for a variety of layouts and uses.
Innovation should be encouraged with various activities to foster interest and use thinking skills aligned with testing ideas that can be translated into interactive physical projects. There should be no fear of failure as STEAM education teaches us that the investigative process can throw up many answers, and it is only through multiple testing that students can find the correct path. Space needs to be provided for them to do this to let their imaginations run wild – move a number of desks together to make a large space for brainstorming and concept or development work.

STEAM Layouts – The Subjects

In Science, laboratories should be clear, uncluttered spaces so students can concentrate on experimentation. Technology and Engineering spaces need to be well laid out so work can be carried out in large or small groups or lone working. The Arts tend to be collaborative subjects so are often based in larger areas for freedom of movement and expression. Conversely, Maths is usually in a classroom environment where the teacher can see everything that is going on to guide students, who are overtly working together but often individually arrive at their answers. Each of these areas requires a different layout for maximum achievement.
Trying to integrate STEAM education into your school? Here at Noble+Eaton, we’d be glad to support you in any way we can.