Leading organisation: MIO-ESCDE / MEdIES
The STEAM box is a toolkit of educational activities related to STEAM education aimed at increasing students’ awareness of impacts of unsustainable waste production and in particular of Single Use Plastics (SUPs). Education, in fact, has the responsibility of providing necessary instruments and frameworks to individuals in order to understand and respond to environmental issues. Science in addition to Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics – the so-called STEAM – approach is considered central for the renovation of the primary schools curriculum, in order to make students aware of the environmental impacts of their consuming choices’ and to sensitise on the rise of single-use plastics’ (SUP) consumption (PISA, 2018).
The STEAM box represents a key output of this project whose innovativeness is related to:
- the STEAM approach: the decision to shift focus from STEM to STEAM is strategic: According to Partners’ experience even if students in STEM programs have more experiential learning opportunities, however these are limited to only scientific subjects, missing key skills that come from artistic approach such as creation, innovation, wonder, curiosity and critical thinking.
- the sustainability umbrella: sustainable development requires a profound transformation of our values, choices and actions. In order to assure that pupils can become change-makers who are able to engage with the complex sustainability-related issues as described in the SDGs, and in particular with the European circular economy agenda, they need to access knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that empower them to contribute to such a sustainable development.
- the enquiry-based learning (EBL) approach: this approach allows the creation of an environment where the learning process is driven by the student’s enquiry and is facilitated by the teacher. Such an approach will guarantee that knowledge is more readily retained because of its experiential acquisition and develop key skills such as directing change, asking questions, solving problems and developing new knowledge.
Considering these elements, it becomes clear that this output is aimed at impacting two main stakeholders: teachers and students. The STEAM box, in fact, will provide relevant useful tools and educational activities to primary school teachers who are its final users. In this way, the project aims to achieve a multiplier effect as any engaged teacher can then impact his/her entire class. At the same time, students are also beneficiaries of the STEAM box as with the support and guidance of their teachers during Labs, are going to experience in a cooperative environment how to use STEAM box, being motivated also by the contest. Furthermore, due to the young age of students and the needed support from parents, the educational activities of the STEAM box will indirectly also address the families, disseminating in this way the project’s activities among external stakeholders in the spirit of the whole-school approach.
The abovementioned 3 pilars eventually furnish the STEAM box with a wide usability at transnational level. Because of the universality of such approaches, their flexibility (e.g. for non formal education settings) and their adjustability (e.g. for secondary level) they can be used in all partner countries. The ‘box’ concept is also key in this output: in contrast with the strict sequence and bindings of formal curricula, this toolkit instead allows only parts of its content to used by the users’ according to their needs. Therefore, the STEAM box will be translated in all project languages (EN, IT, EL, RO, NL).
This output will be led by MIO-ESCDE with the support of THEMISTOKLIS and the whole Partnership with a technical and methodological support from AGORA who will be responsible for uploading contents on the website in order to be interactive, attractive and user-friendly.
STEAM box methodology
STEAM box activities and tools
Guidelines for teachers for applying the STEAM box in Lab