An Argument for STEAM as the Trojan Horse for ”Making”


by Christa Flores -

“ the real story of the Trojan horse, it wasn't the horse that was effective, it was the soldiers inside the horse. And the technology is only going to be effective in changing education if you put an army inside it which is determined to make that change once it gets through the barrier.”

                                                                                                                                                - Seymour Papert


An Argument for STEAM as the Trojan Horse for ”Making”

by Christa Flores and Patrick Benfield


Armed with the history of STE(A)M …Lets start talking

Why are MakerEd programs valuable in school? Some say ‘Making for Making sake’ should be a school’s philosophy. Still, many program developers and administration still spearhead maker programs using the term STEM or STEAM, due to its familiarity and association with marketable job skills. In an effort to collectively articulate key themes to justify making in schools, without excluding the influence of economic theories and hopes, Patrick Benfield of St. Gabriel’s School (Austin, Texas) and I, will share our thoughts going through this process. Our hope is that sharing will aid other maker program hopefuls needing an argument for bringing making to their schools. We hope that our programs will not default to the shoulders of the science or technology departments but will have equal footing in the arts, humanities, social emotional and service learning programs, as well.

Perhaps you have seen the value of making at your school, and now your program is on the cusp of expanding into the regular school day in a more extensive manner. Both the Hillbrook School and St. Gabriel’s are experiencing growth that is changing mindsets, questioning systems/structures/schedules and breaking down boundaries between disciplines, in large part due to our respective heads of schools’ passion for having strong maker programs. Growth can be hard for schools, and as Patrick and I will be discovering, the more we work together, the stronger our campaigns will be for having making for making sake, as well as for building marketable skills. In this series of blogs, Patrick and I will reveal our efforts to build a framework with, and for, our own schools, for the justification of a signature junior kindergarten through 8th grade maker-based program. We expect to dance a fine line between language about job skills implied within the safety of the terms STEM or STEAM, and arguments of democracy and inclusivity, when we focus on teaching to the whole child.


Next in this Series:

STEAM, de Trojan Horse for Making ”Inclusivity”