Writing with STEaM: Creative and Technical Writing about STEM Projects!




Teacher:  Holly Van Houten

Ages 11-14

Class Fees:  $310  or $290 if taking 2 or more classes.  This is a 2 hour class

Materials Fees:  $40 (This class involves a lot of supplies to conduct experiments!) 

Day/Time:  Thursdays / Time: 1:15-3:15pm

Homework:  Writing: 1-2 hours (approx.)


This exciting new class unites enthralling STEM experiments with the kind of writing and communication skills STEM professionals must master to be effective in their fields.  Scientists must be able to COMMUNICATE!  Much of their time is spent writing up specific, accurate, and engaging descriptions of their theories, their experimental processes and, most importantly, their results.  The work we will do in this class recognizes that scientific work is inherently collaborative and that “creativity is the cornerstone of science in all its forms, regardless of the discipline, and writing is common to all subjects.”


This class will inspire students to love the STEM fields and writing, too. Students will be able to tap into their creativity along the way, as we explore the many elegant connections between the arts and science.  This class will provide students with opportunities to question, explore, investigate, build, analyze and create.  Students will be challenged to support their ideas with evidence and to communicate their ideas clearly.  We will also focus on the benefits and the necessity of revising:  their writing, their scientific ideas, and the systems they have engineered.  During the Spring Quarter, our projects will include the following:


Sound Waves – Students will discover the connections between music and math by making their own instruments and exploring the properties of sound waves.  Students will explore concepts in engineering, physical sciences, and mathematics.  They will also have a chance to practice songwriting, as well as technical, creative, and narrative writing.


Tinfoil Shipbuilding – Engineers, ahoy!  Students put their skills to the test designing seaworthy tinfoil boats, learning about density along the way.  Density is a key principle in physics and chemistry.  Incorporating their newfound knowledge, they then launch some thrilling tales.  Students will have a chance to practice technical writing, narrative writing and creative writing!


Science of Super Powers – What lets Iron Man fly?  How did Black Widow get her superhuman strength?  In this “super” lesson, students isolate DNA, design planes, build lairs, and engineer safe transport to help a hero save the day.  In addition to lab note-taking, each hands-on activity will be paired with a different genre of poetry.  Students will write a poem, story or comic explaining the “Origin Story” of their newly imagined superhero.


Re-Writing the Zombie Apocalypse – In this final project, students will be called on to apply all their scientific knowledge to outsmart zombie invaders.  They will discover the importance of scientific modeling across various fields, all in the context of an upcoming zombie apocalypse.  Students will understand scientific concepts related to the spread of disease, explore engineering (building and testing structures and vehicles for zombie protection and evasion) and math (employing statistics and probability to explore projected outcomes for zombie survivability).  Students will even use a simple computer simulation to investigate a big problem (zombies, of course).  All along the way, students will write not only notes detailing their discoveries, but also an ongoing narrative recording their fight against the undead.