Pop-up STEAM Museum with First-Year Students a Success!

It is Friday at 3:00 pm. This is a time when most elementary kids want to run out of a school building to start their weekend, but the 4th and 5th graders at the Beachmont School in Revere, Massachusetts are ready to take part in an afterschool STEAM (Science, Technology, Art and Math) club with first-year students from Northeastern.

For the past five years, Northeastern Teaching Professor Katy Schulte Grahame and Beachmont’s STEAM club director, Christiane Amstutz have developed a partnership where university students present a variety of lessons that focus on different kinds of engineering.  The club has emerged as something both the Beachmont and Northeastern students look forward to every week.

“The whole point is to increase STEM and STEAM engagement and get kids excited. We can do things in the club that we wouldn’t normally do in a classroom because we get support from Northeastern, and they help with materials. It’s just a great partnership, and it gets kids so excited and helps the engineering students in Northeastern continue their passion and really see what the point of engineering is,” said Amstutz.

Recently, the fall/winter club culminated in the Northeastern students hosting a ‘Pop-Up STEAM Museum’ at the school as part of their cornerstone requirement. It provides the opportunity for students to integrate their curricular and experiential journeys into a multi-semester team project with a real-world outcome.

“During the pop-up museum, the Northeastern students have to treat the Beachmont students as potential clients,” said Schulte Grahame. “It was an opportunity for the Northeastern students to get to know potential clients and know what they’re interested in so that whatever they build is targeted toward the client.”

“They’re learning that engineering principle that you don’t generally do engineering just for fun; you usually are doing it for a company, a client, or somebody who’s paying you to build something and do something,” Amstutz added. “Their general theme for the museum capstone project at the Beachmont focused on the environment and sustainability.”

Schulte Grahame said, “The STEAM club collaboration between Northeastern and the Beachmont School has been a success for many years for both sets of students.  We can learn so much from each other and the projects designed for the Pop-up Museum are always specially tailored for our elementary friends.  Sharing a love for science and engineering helps everyone grow both technical and communication skills and we look forward to continuing our partnership in the years to come.”

Related Faculty: Kathryn Schulte Grahame