Recipes for STEM Learning

The woman looked at the items on the table. Vegetable oil, egg yolks, linseed oil and other ingredients. The elements for a perfect creation were right there in front of her, if only she could find the right combination.

The woman was not cooking. She was attending a workshop where participants mixed powdered pigments with everyday materials such as oils, soap and sand to create unique paints. The workshop was part of the conference Design, Make, Play Growing the Next Generation of Science Innovators, which was hosted by NYSCI in collaboration with O’Reilly Media and the White House Office of Science Technology Policy. Design, Make, Play brought together educators, policy leaders, university researchers, and makers to discuss how the kinds of do-it-yourself innovations on display at the annual World Maker Faire can become inspirations for reforming and improving the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in schools.

Paints weren’t the only things created that day – wooden cars, mini bobsleds, robots, pop-up cards and other projects required participants to try out new techniques, find solutions to problems, and use their inventiveness.

So what’s the best recipe for getting kids and adults interested in science? Start with a base of make-inspired projects then add a dash of curiosity and a pinch of critical thinking. Innovation is sure to follow!

View photos from Design, Make, Play

Design, Make, Play’s lead sponsor is Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds. Additional support is provided by the National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and the Kauffman Foundation.