A year ago, I was inspired by my work at MIT and the Mobile Makerspace. I set out to build a layered, multi-faceted STEAM program that promoted the “self-eSTEAM” of my students through deep and applied learning in circuitry, digital fabrication, and robotics. I was fortunate to receive support from MassCue through a grant that propelled our program further than I had envisioned. Receiving funds was an important part of the benefits we embraced as a community because the impact to our program was amplified significantly. As a teacher at an all-girls’ middle school for the economically disadvantaged, I was able to gain first-hand knowledge about state of the art technology tools that enhanced my instruction. By placing these tools in the hands of my students, they were able to practice as real engineers and designers, which elevated our project-based learning to a higher level.
Making a Difference
My students were also able to infuse the Core Values of our school to make a difference in our community. As part of our Students In Action community-focused work, students used our 3-D printer to create chocolate molds later used to make chocolates sold to raise funds to feed the hungry. My students also became more comfortable in their robotics skills as a direct result of grant from MassCUE. Their “self-eSTEAM” soared to new heights after placing in the top five in the First Lego League Robotics Competition, and earning the State Level Gracious Professionalism Award.
The Power of STEAM
Like MassCue, my students and I are committed to deepening technological knowledge and understanding to make an impact. We spent the beginning of this school year working to host a student-led Self-eSTEAM conference. Over thirty outside STEAM professionals came to our school for an entire day, hosting one-hour workshops to inspire our students to see the possibilities in the field. Our work in this area has lead to the addition of three instructional mentees in our classroom this year, explicitly building capacity and modeling what is possible with powerful STEAM instruction. My students and I plan to present at conferences sharing our story of inspiration, building our self-eSTEAM together for future generations, one impactful project after another! Thank you MassCue for believing in the impossible!
Tobey Eugenio is the STEAM lab instructor and teaches Visual Arts teacher at Our Sisters’ School in New Bedford. She works alongside her middle school learners to help them tap into their brilliant creative potential. Tobey strives to spend every moment making meaningful memories and to empower her students to be “self-thinkers” and celebrators of life!
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