Studio STEM: A Model to Enhance Integrative STEM Literacy Through Engineering Design

  • Michael A. EvansEmail author
  • Christine Schnittka
  • Brett D. Jones
  • Carol B. Brandt
Part of the Contemporary Trends and Issues in Science Education book series (CTISE, volume 44)


Developing and implementing integrative curricula that enhances STEM literacy by providing meaningful connections to the lives of youth is challenging. Equally demanding is to invoke the desired cognitive, social, and affective changes that could positively influence motivation in STEM learning (Katehi, L., Pearson, G., & Feder, M. (Eds.). Engineering in K-12 education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2009). In this chapter, we present the Studio STEM model, which is comprised of theory, curricula, training, implementation, and assessment that attempts to overcome known barriers. Studio STEM is an out-of-school, design-based science and engineering program intended to engage middle school youth in critical STEM concepts and practices. The design principles that frame the model include: curricula based on science inquiry, engineering design, studio-based learning, technology-enhanced experiences and opportunities, and a focus on community connections through service organizations and businesses. The Studio STEM model addresses several issues identified by recent reports that highlight potential hindrance of full adoption of integrative STEM programming. We offer the framework by which Studio STEM was intentionally designed to be a practical program based on current theory and research. We also discuss details of what constitutes an engineering design-based science learning environment, a description of the program curricula and training, assessment measures used, and results from several implementations of Studio STEM in varying informal learning contexts (Evans et al. International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, 3(2), 1–31, 2014; Schnittka, C. G., Brandt, C. B., Jones, B. D., & Evans, M. A. Advances in Engineering Education, 3(2), 1–31, 2012; Schnittka et al. Looking for learning in afterschool spaces: Studio STEM (2015). Preliminary results suggest positive changes in youth engagement toward and interest in STEM as a result of participating in Studio STEM. As a result, we highlight the connections among theory and research, practical implementations of the program, and positive student and teacher outcomes related to motivation and STEM literacy driven by a focus on engineering design practices as core to these efforts.


Engineering Design Process Youth Engagement Site Leader Music Model Undergraduate Mentor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Evans
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christine Schnittka
    • 2
  • Brett D. Jones
    • 3
  • Carol B. Brandt
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Teacher Education and Learning SciencesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Department of Curriculum and TeachingAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  3. 3.School of EducationVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  4. 4.Department of Teaching and LearningTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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