About 1,000 children and teachers from across Georgia and South Carolina traveled to Augusta University’s Summerville Campus this past Saturday, Oct. 26, to participate in a design-based, problem-solving competition called STEAMIFY.
For the entire day, the campus was filled with children wearing brightly colored STEAMIFY shirts competing in a variety of activities, but mostly having a blast.
STEAMIFY is a fun competition that gives students in grades 4-8 the opportunity to apply the content they are learning in school in the contexts of either engineering or art.
By doing so, they can construct deep understandings of how this knowledge can be authentically used in their daily lives, according to Dr. Ashley Gess, assistant professor of STEAM education in the College of Education at Augusta University.
“Our community needs something like this because it is a competition for kids, as well as teachers,” Gess said. “We want to give the teachers the framework to be able to use design-based STEAM approaches in their classrooms.”
While many people are familiar with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, STEAM is slightly different.
According to Gess, STEM is an educational approach that leverages the design process so that students intentionally combine what they are learning in science, math and other subjects into solving a real-world problem using engineering or engineering technologies.
What results is a true interdisciplinary approach to learning.
STEAM is an educational approach that also leverages designing but gives the context of arts as another option for problem resolution, Gess explained.
For STEAMIFY, students were given the challenge of solving two problems — one long problem before the event and one spontaneous problem during the competition— using critical-thinking skills and creative-problem solving.
Categories for STEAMIFY covered a variety of subjects from engineering and rocketry to spoken word and visual arts.
Click here to see a list of the winners in the 2019 STEAMIFY competition.