science, technology, engineering, and math through the lens

InstaSTEM combines photography, IVC, and nonfiction literature in a unique program to inspire students to learn, read, and write about science.

I have learned through many author appearances that children are inspired and motivated by exciting scientific imagery.

"For students, writing is a key means of asserting and defending claims, showing what they know about a subject, and conveying what they have experienced, imagined, thought, and felt. To be college and career ready writers, students must take task, purpose, and audience into careful consideration, choosing words, information, structures, and formats deliberately. They need to be able to use technology strategically when creating, refining, and collaborating on writing. They have to become adept at gathering information, evaluating sources, and citing material accurately, reporting findings from their research and analysis of sources in a clear and cogent manner. " ~from the CCSS

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InstaSTEM turns STEM into STEAM!

The "A" is for ART.

The "Art of Science" motivates students to explore and discover.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) focus on nonfiction and the skills necessary to produce and interpret it. InstaSTEM helps students master the CCSS!

InstaSTEM gets students outside where they explore and discover the natural world while creating photographs. Back in the classroom they research and write about their images, and share them on the class InstaSTEM website.

Here's how it works:

1. Students meet with me in a thirty-minute interactive videoconference (IVC) during which I show scientific images from my books. We discuss scale, content, composition, and captions.

2. The teacher and students choose a photography theme, such as flowers, insects, clouds, spiders, rocks, water—or any scientific phenomenon that can be photographed. They research their theme by reading nonfiction.

Students may use any kind of digital camera --cell phone cameras are great.

3. During our second IVC we discuss photographic techniques used for creating good images such as light, composition, scale, location, and editing. Then, students go outside and take photos during class or as a homework assignment.

Students label their photographs and upload them to the class Instastem website.

4. During our third IVC we analyze the images and choose pictures that are both artistic and scientifically interesting. Students learn how to write an information rich caption. Then, each student chooses one photo to research in depth.

Students learn the relationship between form and function as they study and research their images.

5. During our final IVC we view the images and discuss the captions in a slide show presentation. The teacher can use these images and captions to create a pdf book, or as inspiration for a longer research and writing project.

InstaSTEM is for students in grades four through twelve!

Required technology:
digital cameras, computers or iPads, internet connection, IVC equipment.

Text and Images © 2013 Alexandra Siy