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STEM

How Standing Rock inspired a new STEAM youth curriculum

A visit to the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock has inspired a new STEAM curriculum for youth. Through a multicultural collaboration with indigenous educators, artists and particle physicists students will explore the correlations of indigenous cosmology to modern science through art and social practice.  The curriculum will focus on our human connection to nature, science and technology through diverse worldviews.

As an artist and Americorp VISTA working at the intersection of art, science, technology and education I focus on youth, inspiring them to discover who they are and their connection to their community and the world. So when I heard that Standing Rock was started by youth, supported by elders and sustained by over 300 tribal nations and countless activist organizations from around the world, I felt called to action. When I got there elders told me they felt it was their prayers calling people. I believe that Standing Rock is an important and transformational movement. I wanted to go in person to meet and support the youth leaders from the International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC) and I had heard from Taos Pueblo drum maker, Christopher Lujan that someone had started a school at the camp for the over 200 kids living there. So I got together with Chris , Jason Rodriguez of ARTAOS and teacher, Megan Avina Bowers at TISA (Taos Integrated School of the Arts) and we designed a workshop for the kids which resulted in student-created banners which I delivered to the young water protectors.  They were so open and appreciative of this gift from the kids that they even took the time to record a video message for them. What impressed me most is that they are not just fighting the pipeline, they are focused on the idea of building a Just Transition Community grounded in prayer and modeling to the youth a new way to be in this world. I saw how they were focused on educating and raising awareness to the change that needs to happen to protect our natural and cultural resources for future generations, while understanding the important connection between ecological diversity and cultural diversity.

The media has not been covering this story, so the youth have taken to Facebook live streaming, drone footage from the front lines, and creating YouTube videos to communicate their message. The youth of Standing Rock are using the new Facebook live stream technology and free social media platform to  shake up the world and I came back wanting to continue this work in our schools and communities.

While there, I met Steve Tamayo, one of the Lakota teachers at the Oceti Sakowin school managed by Teresa Dzieglewicz who was living at the camp. Steve was sharing Lakota traditions while teaching kids how to build a Tipi.  I told him about a project I started in 2009 called Projecting Particles, collaborating with scientists at CERN, home of the particle accelerator in Switzerland. The workshops combine projection art and particle physics to explore new understandings of the universe.  We saw some fascinating correlations between traditional Lakota cosmology and modern particle physics.  We are now collaborating with CERN physicist, Dr. Steven Goldfarb,  to design a curriculum that explores these correlations through STEAM youth projects and a community lecture series. We hope that increasing understanding of radically new science concepts while building appreciation for the significance of indigenous cosmology and worldview can provide students with a meaningful, collaborative and unifying way to explore and understand the world around us.

Follow this blog to see how this project evolves.

Building Capacity for STEAM: Americorps Project expands into 2017

Two years ago I joined artist Andrea Polli and the Social Media Workgroup (SMW) as an Americorps VISTA. “Did you know that President Kennedy introduced the idea of VISTA to Congress in 1963? Or that many of the best-known anti-poverty programs, including Head Start and Credit Unions, were expanded by VISTA members? VISTA has been on the forefront of ending poverty in America for 50 years.” Check out the Americorps VISTA website to read more about this important program.

In 2014, SMW received its first Americorps/VISTA grant to launch the STEAM NM initiative: Building Capacity for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and the Arts) Education in New Mexico. Now renewed and expanded for its third year with VISTA, our STEAM NM core group includes SMW along with five partners: UNM STEM Collaborative, The School of Architecture + Planning and COSMIAC; the CNM Fuse Makerspace, and The PASEO/STEMarts in Taos. My role as the Taos VISTA is to innovate and network STEAM initiatives in Northern New Mexico. It has been an exciting year that has led to new local and global partnerships to expand youth opportunities in our communities. Read more about it on the Social Media Workgroup website and stay tuned for 2017 programming.

ARTAOS + TISA: Augmented Reality Mural at Ziggy’s Frozen Yogurt Shop


 
As part of TISA’s new STEAM Lab, Amber McCabe’s 8th grade class participated in an Augmented Reality (AR) Mural Work/Study Project providing real-world community focused learning of STEAM skills. AR is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. Information about the environment and its objects is overlaid on the real world. This exciting semester long project inaugurated spring 2017 and is now open so stop by for some augmented reality and frozen yogurt!
 

How it Happened

 
Co-founders, Bowe Ellis and Steve Kennebeck are the founders of Ziggy’s, a new froyo shop in Taos (Next to Taos Java) and approached me to see if STEMarts Lab could coordinate students to paint a mural for the shop. STEMarts Lab brings artists into schools through interdisciplinary collaborations that integrate art, science, and technology through social practice. For this project, we brought in artists, Jason Rodriguez and Aya Trevino of ARTAOS who had been exploring AR technology to work with the TISA kids. They worked with Ziggy’s owners to design the interior space of the new frozen yogurt store and engaged students in the process. Students helped to design and create an Augmented Reality (AR) mural that makes the whole space interactive. By pointing your smartphone or iPad at the painted mural on the walls, animated images pop off the wall for a fun and surreal 3D experience. The main star of the mural is Ziggy, the adorable pug of owner, Bowe Ellis. Yogurt will never be the same!
 

 

STEAM Lab@TISA ‘Design Thinking’ in Action

 
In line with TISA’s ‘Design Thinking‘ methodology, students were involved in all aspects of the production, from visiting the space and meeting the “clients”, to developing the concept, to designing the technology that creates an augmented reality experience for visitors.  Through this project students understand the impact that art, science, and technology can have in our society and our community. The AR Mural project aligns with Core Arts standards, 21st Century standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.
 
This project provided invaluable real world STEAM skills;

  • Business skills by working with a client to design a site specific installation (Site Visit, measurement, space planning, client communications)
  • Design and critical thinking skills to explore new approaches to image making, including designing stencils and laser cut vinyl patterns.
  • Project planning such as identifying design constraints (budget, materials, copyright, technology)
  • Learning cutting edge technology skills to create augmented reality experiences. (Define still image (trigger) criteria vs AR imagery (overlay)
  • Collaboration with UNM Digital Media facilitators, Peter Walker and Enrico Trujillo, and their art students to access advanced technologies to realize their ideas.i.e. 3-D animation and green screen video making.
  • Building of scale model of site to consider floor, ceiling, counters, safe zones, etc.


 
For year two of the AR Mural project, students will have the opportunity to become AR Technology teachers  to new students who will create changing animations for the mural. The STEAM Lab@TISA is all about teaching and modeling collaboration and in this spirit TISA will invite other schools in the community to participate providing a series of school exhibits of AR animations created by Taos county youth. Please contact us if interested. learn@sube.com
 
This TISA project was made possible through a partnership with ARTAOS, Ziggy’s Yogurt Shop founders; Bowe Ellis and Steve Kennebeck, and a Paseo Project collaboration with UNM Digital Media Arts.

Augmented Reality for K-3rd graders!


 
TISA K-3rd grade teachers also got in on the action! Through a series of professional development sessions we trained the TISA teachers on how to use the Quiver app to delight their students with the magic of AR at an early age. Kids hacked the coloring pages to discover the trigger and overlays and then integrated them into paintings and sculptures to learn how to design with the virtual and real. The teachers shared what they learned at the Twirl Invent Event with an AR station of their own design.
 
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