Structuring STEAM Inquiries: Lessons Learned from Practice

  • Sarah B. BushEmail author
  • Kristin L. Cook


In this chapter, we share our journey of working with in-service elementary teachers in school-level professional learning communities as they develop, refine, and implement problem-based STEAM investigations in their classrooms with a critical focus on grade-level mathematics and science content and practices as defined by the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Our work with elementary teachers has yielded several problem-based STEAM inquiries that authentically and meaningfully integrate content areas to solve real-world problems. We have explicitly focused on inquiries that infuse the arts to investigate its potential to engage more diverse learners – in some cases students who have not traditionally been drawn to STEM subjects. We provide readers with the following three concrete examples of classroom-tested inquiries that have successfully and meaningfully integrated all areas of STEAM: designing a prosthetic arm for a kindergartener, a paleontology investigation, and a closer look at the arts within roller-coaster engineering. We conclude by sharing lessons learned as we embark on implementing effective STEAM instruction in the elementary school setting, and we provide tips and helpful resources for readers wishing to engage in the implementation of high-quality STEAM instruction.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  2. 2.Bellarmine UniversityLouisvilleUSA

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