Curriculum Planning for STEAM

Our STEAM journey has reached a point where we are working with each year level to create a unit of learning that has a clear line of inquiry across several learning areas.   Interestingly, our vision of ‘Inspiring our community of learners to inquire, collaborate and create’ has applied to our teachers as much as to our students in this process. 

Our Journey has been quite extensive in the work that has been done before even starting with our current STEAM work and is profiled in this blog post.   Playing a significant role has been the use of design thinking to scaffold curriculum design and inquiry.

Yr 5 Geography was an initial prototype for this work and enabled the design of a unit which aligned aspects of Geography and Digital Technologies – with the creation of a digital solution by the students being one of the outcomes.

The use of hexagonal mapping is a strategy often used in design thinking within a stage where synthesis of ideas is appropriate.   NoTosh first introduced us to this tool – displayed below:

Tom Barrett recently shared this article – Abductive Thinking and it sets out further ideas and justifications related to this process but especially to the way that this externalises the meaning-creation process by the tangible manipulation of the data.

To support us in our endeavours – we have discovered this hexagon creator tool which we have been using lately to generate each hexagon on which is written a content descriptor for each area of the curriculum within the Australian Curriculum that we are looking at.  We use the same colour for each of the content descriptors from the same curriculum learning area.

We have found that there are often many possible combinations can be made by ‘chunking’ together content descriptors and herein lies many opportunities for teachers to connect to the deeper meaning behind each of them.

There is much work to do post these sessions with ensuring that the integrity of curriculum areas is retained and that assessment is appropriate and rigorous.  The value of providing teams of teachers with the space and toolset to develop these lines of inquiry is undeniable and we are excited about the evolving nature of this work.

We were inspired in this work by the team at St Mel’s in Sydney – see one of their blog posts about this here.