How can STEAM subjects connect to Education Outside the Classroom practices?

We, at OTTER, are interested in another layer of EOC practices – How EOC can help to teach Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths subjects.

By Deirdre O’Neill, Orla McCormack and Regina Kelly (University of Limerick)

Literature plays an important role in informing us of tried and tested approaches used for Education Outside the Classroom (EOC). We, at OTTER, are interested in another layer of EOC practices – How EOC can help to teach Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths subjects. Through a literature review we outlined studies that did just that! Our study explored the link between STEAM and EOC practices. It revealed a diverse range of topics including: Climate Change, Sustainability & Conservation, Rock Formation, Zoology, Botany & Anthropology, Evolution, Space, Motion Force and Energy. Some of the ways that these topics were presented were through virtual reality or use of tablets, museum exhibitions, informal and non-formal learning environments, playgrounds and trips to venues outside the classroom.

Our study highlighted that Science is mostly reported in the field of EOC practices, with some studies in Technology, Art and Maths. Engineering was one of the fields in STEAM that was underrepresented in the literature when investigating impacts of Education Outside the Classroom. This study outlines the opportunity for engineering education research to create cross-curricular links and report on interesting education outside the classroom opportunities in the subject.



Reference List

  1. Affeldt, F., Weitz, K., Siol, A., Markic, S., & Eilks, I. (2015). A non-formal student laboratory as a place for innovation in education for sustainability for all students. Education Sciences, 5(3), 238–254.
  2. Çelik, M., & Tekbiyik, A. (2016). The influence of activities based on GEMS with the theme of earth crust on the fourth grade students’ conceptual understanding and scientific process skills. Pegem Egitim ve Ogretim Dergisi= Pegem Journal of Education and Instruction, 6(3), 303.
  3. Cotic, N., Plazar, J., Istenic Starcic, A., & Zuljan, D. (2020). The Effect of Outdoor Lessons in Natural Sciences on Students’ Knowledge, through Tablets and Experiential Learning. Journal of Baltic Science Education, 19(5), 747–763.
  4. Fisher-Maltese, C., Fisher, D. R., & Ray, R. (2018). Can learning in informal settings mitigate disadvantage and promote urban sustainability? School gardens in Washington, DC. International Review of Education, 64(3), 295–312.
  5. Frappart, S., & Frède, V. (2016). Conceptual change about outer space: How does informal training combined with formal teaching affect seventh graders’ understanding of gravitation? European Journal of Psychology of Education, 31(4), 515–535.
  6. Horn, M. S., Phillips, B. C., & Evans, E. M. (2016). This is a repository copy of Visualizing biological data in museums: Visitor learning with an interactive tree of life exhibit.
  7. Hsu, T.-Y., & Liang, H.-Y. (2017). A cyclical learning model to promote children’s online and on-site museum learning. The Electronic Library.
  8. Margolin, J., Ba, H., Friedman, L. B., Swanlund, A., Dhillon, S., & Liu, F. (2021). Examining the impact of a play-based middle school physics program. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 53(2), 125–139.
  9. Petersen, G. B., Klingenberg, S., Mayer, R. E., & Makransky, G. (2020). The virtual field trip: Investigating how to optimize immersive virtual learning in climate change education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 51(6), 2099–2115.
  10. Porter, D., Weaver, A. J., & Raptis, H. (2012). Assessing students’ learning about fundamental concepts of climate change under two different conditions. Environmental Education Research, 18(5), 665–686.
  11. Puttick, G., & Tucker-Raymond, E. (2018). Building systems from scratch: An exploratory study of students learning about climate change. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 27(4), 306–321.
  12. Roth, J., & Reynolds, L. K. (2020). Engaging students in seagrass-focused activities. Science Activities, 57(3), 122–131.
  13. Salmi, H. S., Thuneberg, H., & Bogner, F. X. (2020). Is there deep learning on Mars? STEAM education in an inquiry-based out-of-school setting. Interactive Learning Environments, 1–13.
  14. Salmi, H., & Thuneberg, H. (2019). The role of self-determination in informal and formal science learning contexts. Learning Environments Research, 22(1), 43–63.
  15. Schneiderhan-Opel, J., & Bogner, F. X. (2021). Cannot See the Forest for the Trees? Comparing Learning Outcomes of a Field Trip vs. A Classroom Approach. Forests, 12(9), 1265.
  16. Stöckert, A., & Bogner, F. X. (2020). Cognitive learning about waste management: How relevance and interest influence long-term knowledge. Education Sciences, 10(4), 102.

Photo by Anete Lusina

How can STEAM subjects connect to Education Outside the Classroom practices?