Steam Reflection

     Last year, we were given the choice to choose between STEAM and an online course. Looking at the courses, I didn’t find any that were intriguing to me besides Creative Writing. I was considering Creative Writing because I thought that it could really help develop my writing into something of a higher level than I have now. But in the end, I did end up choosing STEAM. I chose STEAM because I believe it would be way more beneficial for me. Although STEAM may just be one subject, a student learns from a combination ofscience, technology, engineering, art, and math. STEAM focuses on all of these instead of just one subject, and how they fit together.  Not only that, STEAM teaches us how to problem solve, to find multiple solutions to a problem, which I think is essential for students to learn. I chose STEAM because I liked how all the aspects of STEAM are incorporated in our learning and I believed that it was important for me to learn the relationships of these subjects altogether. I knew that problem solving would be extremely important for me to learn, and would prove to be beneficial for me in the future.

     Although we have been in school for only a couple of weeks, I really enjoy this class. I think that this year’s course is quite similar to last year’s STEAM class. However, I find that this year’s class provides more freedom—in our design, our product, our materials. Thisis one of the reasons I find this year’s STEAM class so enjoyable. By having more freedom in this class, we, as students, can be as creative as we want, come up with different, unique ideas. I also really like that we weren’t guided as much in this class so far, because that way we can learn more how to plan our projects ourselves and how to find solutions to the problems we might face in our projects, which will be very beneficial for us in the future, because there won’t always be someone to guide us.

     I think the communication skills in our group are extremely good. When we were trying to find ideas for what kind of music box we should make, we shared our ideas with open minds, keeping each suggestion in mind. But we are also very honest with each other. We speak up whenwe think a particular idea won’t work, or if we don’t agree with something. We also keep in touch through WeChat outside of class. If we ever have a problem or a question, we ask on the chat and we try to find a solution together, something we all agree on.

    For our group, we have decided to work as a group instead of designating roles for each of us. We did this because we all can try each aspect or roles in the project. That way we all get to try designing, building, documenting, coding, composing in this project. By working as a group, we can work together more, build on each other’s ideas, incorporating all of our ideas in each aspect of the project as well as understand and solve problems easier, which improves our communication skills and collaboration skills. If we work as a group, the work would be distributed fairly as well, and we wouldn’t be burdened by time, because some things like the design could take longer than coding. And in the end, I believe that we would work better as a group.

     Two days ago, we went to Old Shekou to find some materials for our music box. Most of the materials that we needed we already had in our STEAM class, such as plastic for 3D printing and the motors from the Lego Mindstorm kits. We also ordered a comb from TaoBao, so we were left with only a few things to purchase. During the trip, we purchased a wooden plank, which would serve as the base for our product. The only other thing that we were planning to buy but didn’t get to was decoration, but it was optional.

     I think that the music box that we will make can work, and I really hope so. We have gone through multiple ideas before this idea, and we did research excessively before this project. I hope that this will influence the successfulness of our project. We will try to the best of our ability to make this music box work and to try to solve as many problems as we come across. But in the end, even if it will not work, we know that it was the process that counts.

     I think that our group will teach ourselves to program by finding tutorials on the internet, or by watching some online videos about this topic. I think that the best way to learn about our music box and how it works will be to actually see how others have done it, and try to learn itourselves by using their methods.