STEM Interpreted as Play Fosters Creativity

STEM that incorporates play bridges the gap between the way young children learn about the world and the way engineers and artists design.

Photo of Michelle Fontenot
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The article How Serious Play Leads to Breakthrough Innovation describes various business breakthroughs that came about from intentional, unabashed play in the work space. The sculptor Richard Serra explains, "In play you don’t foresee an end product. It allows you to suspend judgment. Often the solution to one problem sparks a possibility for another set of problems. . ." STEM activities which allow for deep play can bridge the gap between the "business of play" engaged in by young children exploring their world and the creative problem solving that professional engineers employ. Learning about the world through curiosity and experimentation can spark unforeseen insights or illuminate previously hidden connections to solve future challenges. This, of course, is our ultimate goal as STEM educators!

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Photo of Erin Quinn

Holy moly, this is perfect timing! I'm in the middle of planning a Serious Play Symposium for makers and designers in our school system and city. 

Here's a question: what does play look like in a high school science classroom? Middle school language arts? 

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