Locally Grown STEAM Showcase Begins Maine Tour at Brewer Community School

Maine Educators and brothers Keith and Kern Kelley from RSU 19 are heading up a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) Showcase this school year, that aims to fill the workforce gap in Maine by bringing more STEAM opportunities to Maine students and teachers.

This past summer, 14 educators from across Maine participated in a 3 credit Introduction to Experiential Teaching through Technology offered by EMMC and UTC, and taught by the Kelley brothers. The idea of the training is to bring the experiential teaching philosophy to Maine classrooms, offering more than traditional makerspaces and shop classes. In a train the trainer method, the course came with a STEAMroller cart full of equipment and tools that educators can take back to the school to share with colleagues, and also comes with the opportunity for a visit from the STEAM Showcase.

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STEAM Showcase Bus (Photo credit: Riley Bridges, media studies student at RSU 19)

The Showcase, which has officially begun its tour in Brewer, is a refurbished bus full of equipment and tools that goes on the road, literally, to bring STEAM breakout sessions to Maine students and teachers. The sessions feature coding with drones, virtual reality programming, 3D design and printing, and an escape room challenge that takes place inside the bus.

At the Brewer Community School Showcase this week, four classes of 7th graders and their teachers participated in a day full of breakout sessions hosted by high school students known as Tech Sherpas. The Tech Sherpas are a group of students from RSU 19 who are interested in technology and integrating it into education. They are students of Kern Kelley, and are known to accompany him to speaking engagements on the topic of STEAM and technology integration, in addition to presenting themselves both nationally and internationally.

Brewer Community School 7th grade teacher Rob Dominic took the EMMC course this past summer and has been using the STEAMroller cart so far this year. He said he was originally interested in the course because he wanted to help “start and build a culture” within his 7th grade team and at his school that integrates STEAM into their lessons to provide students with experiential learning opportunities that engage them in new ways. He said that already that day, his colleagues were having conversations about how they could use the day’s experience to improve future learning opportunities. For example, one teacher came up with the idea of using virtual reality to do character analysis in English Language Arts lessons.  Dominic says the STEAMroller cart and the experiential learning opportunities were a welcome addition to his team and that his colleagues were eager to learn more and start using the tools.

From here the STEAM Showcase will go on to visit the schools of other educators that took the course, in hopes of engaging yet more teachers and students in this train the trainer method of bringing experiential and STEAM learning opportunities to Maine classrooms.

This article was written by Maine DOE Staff Rachel Paling in collaboration with Brewer Community School, RSU 19, and UTC. Many of the photos used for this article were taken by Riley Bridges, media studies student at RSU 19. The article is part of the Maine DOE’s Maine Schools Sharing Success campaign. If you have an idea or submission for the campaign, email Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.