Creating a STEAM Classroom | STAO Connex

My journey in creating and developing a STEAM classroom started in 2012.  The video posted was filmed at STAO2012.  The demonstration was a simple task where we build a grape masher and have STAO participants try out the device, ask questions, and develop an activity they can bring back to their classroom.  This video shows a start on how you introduce STEAM in your classroom.  After using a prebuilt grape masher, students can redesign the grape masher and improve a variety of variables of their choosing e.g., speed, force, etc.

Fast forward to 2015.  Thanks to an NSERC grant, Project Innovation participants were given a box filled with tools and materials.  The task was to bring the box back into the classroom and use it.  My catalyst was to demonstrate how a box of tools and materials could be used to improve student learning by applying what they have learned in a design challenge.  The design challenge was to build a water filter to remove particulate from a water sample.

by Florence Ho

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Source: Creating a STEAM Classroom | STAO Connex


Grade 3 students were introduced to simple tools and design strategies before diving into a trans-disciplinary project (Science & Technology, Social Studies, Mathamatics, Language and The Arts). The culminating activity was to design and build a new landmark for a specific location in Ontario. Continue reading

Building an Electric Car in Grade 9 Science – Student Activity


The Focus on Inquiry:

This guided inquiry project was designed to provide students with the challenge of creating a fully-electric car.  The students were provided with a motor, photographs of sample electric cars, an outline of the criteria their car was to meet, and a rubric as a marking scheme.

The Inquiry Project:

The project was discussed and proposed at the beginning of the physics unit of study in grade 9 applied science. 

Students were tasked with completing three main components:

I.       A Thought Book

This is where the students formulated questions, made hypotheses, and made predictions about their project prior to beginning construction of their electric car.  The Thought Book took the form of pre-formatted Google Slides that the students shared with the teacher and the rest of their peers.  The students completed different ‘pages’ of the Thought Book as they progressed through different stages of the inquiry project.  They also used the Though Book to gather, organize and record information during their ‘build days’.

II.     A schematic of their circuit

This is where the students communicated their understanding of how electricity moves through their circuit.  Students were asked to communicate their results in appropriate key terms (ie. source, load, conductor, insulator, switch).

III.    Reflection questions

These questions were designed to have students reflect on their learning, analyze their outcomes, describe their challenges and how they surmounted them.

This activity is part of STAO’s Connex series.  For more details about this activity, including all you need to use it in your classroom go to the STAO Connex page…


Math & Science…A New Context Isn’t a New Problem: Strategies to Help Students Transfer Skills

Author: Tasha Richardson, Teacher – TDSB, @tadric3EM

As a physics teacher, I have always been very interested in students’ abilities to apply previously learned mathematical skills in the classroom. Continue reading

What can you learn from ancient skeletons? – TED-Ed

Ancient skeletons can tell us a great deal about the past, including the age, gender and even the social status of its former owner. But how can we know all of these details simply by examining some old, soil-caked bones? Continue reading