STEAM Curricular Center

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics
Access to these projects and activities are available with a paid subscription to Meridian Stories.

STEAM Activities

Activities are designed to be 1 – 2 week units that are great starter projects for teachers and students that may be new to digital storytelling. These ask students to innovate on a relatively traditional assignment with a digital layer (adding voice over or music, a storyboard or a YouTube format). They are designed to simultaneously increase student engagement as well promote deeper learning.

Dueling Perspectives

Creative digital activity that asks students to create a subjective perspective as a pathway to understand challenging objective content.

Nature's Orchestra

Creative digital activity that asks students to explore, record, identify and mix the largely invisible but vocal animal world around them.

Time Capsule

Creative digital activity that asks students to look at a STEAM topic of your choice – one that is ‘formative’ or still revealing itself to us – and create a time capsule with three objects inside of it that indicate the past, present and projected future of your topic.

Local Treasures

Creative digital activity that asks students to explore the expertise of the STEAM faculty at your school through short interviews to create a compendium of favorite experiments, WOW moments and STEAM dream projects to stimulate further STEAM fun.

Likeable and Local – Meals that Save the Planet

Creative digital activity that asks students to develop and cook a meal – at home – that follows criteria for using ingredients that are (more or less) locally sourced, that culminates in a classroom feast and a digital cookbook.

Crash Course

Creative digital activity that asks students to teach their peers about any topic you assign, using a popular YouTube style that involves quick talking and jump-cut editing.

Essay Analysis: Taking Control!

Creative digital activity that asks students to explore the meaning of a given essay they are assigned by re-producing, for the screen, the essay’s exact words using text, voice, sound and music.

Game Design

Creative, non-digital activity that immerses the students in the 4C’s of 21st Century learning by asking them to playfully practice game design techniques in order to create a functional game about…whatever topic you are teaching: language use, story structure, grammar, poetry, etc.

STEAM Projects

Projects are designed to be 2 – 4 week units that consistently ask students to dive deeply into targeted curriculum; translate their understanding of that curriculum into a story; and then produce that story digitally for others to view. Projects are informed by the foundation of Meridian Stories that values deep curricular explorations equally with the practice of the 21st century skills of collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, digital literacy, and public presentation.
Projects

Learn more about the STEAM Projects by clicking on the titles below.

Water Corruption - Investigative Report (Water Sources, Earth Science)

In this Challenge, your team must research the source, cleanliness and rechargeable nature of your community’s water supply. Then, identify a plausible threat to that supply: contamination? development? accessibility? Create an on-the-scene investigative report as if that threat is coming to pass, detailing a) the problem; b) what could have been done to prevent it; and c) what is being done to contain or fix it.

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Defying Gravity, Rube Goldberg Style (Forces, Motion, Energy, Experimentation)

Car jack, forklift, pulley and dumbbell curl: there are lots of ways to hoist an object off the ground cleanly and efficiently. Not here! In the tradition of the famous Rube Goldberg, you and your team must create a device that opposes gravity using at least two separate machines that handle the load in sequence to raise an object (or multiple objects) two meters off the ground.

For middle school teams the challenge is to raise an object or objects weighing a total of two kilograms two meters off the ground. High schoolers need to raise an object or objects weighing a total of four kilograms two meters off the ground.

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Inclined to Measure – Video Pitch (Trigonometry, 2D and 3D Modeling, Community Engagement)

This Challenges asks your team to build an inclinometer to help measure the dimensions of an existing town building. Then, assuming its imminent destruction, re-design the form and function of the building and communicate your work in a video pitch to the town council.

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The Game’s Afoot – Documentary (All STEAM Topics)

STEAM challenges – especially math – abound in all of your favorite board games. In The Game’s Afoot, your team combines game design elements with any STEAM concept to create a new non-electronic, STEAM-based board game

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GMO Commercial – Where Do You Stand? (Earth Sciences, Food Production, Farming, Genetics)

Genetically Modified Organisms – GMOs – are experimental plants or animals that have been genetically engineered by humans in a lab using DNA from other plants and animals, as well as bacteria and viruses.

GMOs have strong proponents. GMOs have equally strong opponents. In this challenge, you will research the issue and then defend one side of this debate by making a TV commercial for or against a GMO product. AND, there is one more requirement: your commercial must give your selected GMO product its own voice. That’s right: include a talking, non-human representation of your product!

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Community Fact …or Fiction? (Random Sampling, Histogram, Data Collection and Analysis, Community Engagement)

Have you ever wondered how many pizzas are served in a day in your town?  Or how many acres of permanently conserved land there are in your town? Do you think your neighbors know?  In this three-part challenge you will begin by investigating facts about your hometown in an area of interest to your team. Once you know the facts, you will interview a sample of community members and perform a statistical analysis to reveal the differences between belief and fact. The results will teach  – and astonish – everyone about an unusual facet of your community…which  (part three) your team will report as Special Human Interest segment called, Did You Know?!

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Super Hero Mathematics (All Math Topics)

You have been contracted by Marvel Pictures to draft, create, and name a superhero that appeals to your own peer group.  You are competing with other creators to have your superhero adopted by Marvel and expanded into a full line of products, so you have to sell your idea in a succinct, 2 – 3-minute video pitch.  The twist, however, is that your character must draw his powers from mathematical concepts that allow him/her/it to overcome challenges, defeat villains, and generally save the day!

 

Local Species Spotlight (Ecosystems, Biological Evolution, Animal Behaviors)

National Geographic is creating a Species Database of short 3-minute educational films on every local species in North America. They are hiring one of their investigators – you! – to do a spotlight on a species in your area to include in this database of knowledge. Part of the requirement involves interviewing a subject matter expert.

 

 

Build-a-Career Workshop (Economics, Functions, Mathematics)

Can you afford …to be what you want to be? Only one way to find out: research the profession. There are two possible avenues to continue down: research the average salary and create a budget from the salary. OR, build and evaluate a function for a company of your career that calculates the yearly cost as a function of how many employees there are, considering how much the company makes and spends, employee salary and base costs.

 

 

Peering into Drugs and Science (PSA) (Physical and Mental Health, The Body, Drugs of Abuse)

We know that peer relationships can be key influencers in an individual’s decision to use drugs. People are more likely to use drugs and alcohol if someone close to them, like a friend or sibling, is already using or has access to them. Conversely, someone like YOU—a trusted and knowledgeable friend – can influence healthy behaviors within your friend group and steer them away from illicit substances. You are the credible source who can help others understand the important facts about drug abuse and misuse by focusing your research on the facts most impactful to you.

In this challenge, you have been hired to create a Public Service Announcement about the health and societal related impacts of a particular drug of abuse.

 

 

STEAM Competitions

Competitions are curricular projects that student teams produce and upload to the site in the spring in competition with other registered schools. Each Competition is equipped with a step-by-step breakdown of the work, an Evaluation Rubric, Support Resources, Essential Questions, Student Proficiencies and Curricular Correlations to the Common Core and NGSS. All student entries are evaluated by two outside Mentors who score and comment on the entries for place and digital badging.

The Soil is Alive!

Earth Systems – Matter and Energy in Ecosystems – Climate Change – Scientific Experimentation – 3D Printing, Engineering and Design  – Video Production and Narrative Construction – 21st Century Skills

The soil is alive! But what exactly does that mean? How is the soil ‘alive’? How do we measure the organic matter in the soil around where we live to determine how healthy it is? How might we make our soil ‘healthier’? And why would increasing the amount of organic matter offset carbon emissions? What does one have to do with the other? And finally, what is ‘carbon sequestration’?

These are the mysteries that lie at the heart of this Competition. And one tool that can help you to solve this mystery is a 3D printed microscope that attaches to your phone.

Research the statement that the soil is ‘alive’ and how it can help stem the tide of climate change. This is no exaggeration. And then tell us the story of your soil, in your school, community or backyard. Actually, sell us on your story in the form of a two minute Public Service Announcement. (This Competition has been developed in collaboration with Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport, ME) (Due: 3.23.18)

The Soil is Alive!

Body Detective

Human Biology – Disease, Symptoms and Body Defenses – Video Production and Narrative Construction – 21st Century Skills

When dastardly disease and sinister sickness strikes the human body, there are three key players in the battle:

  1. The bad guys – the disease;
  2. The victims – the body and its parts; and
  3. The heros – the body’s internal defense systems and humanity’s externally produced medicines.

These three forces mix together to create a story more dramatic and mysterious than the best detective noir ever created! This is the story that you are going to tell. (Due: 3.23.18)

Body Detective

A Burning Documentary

System of Linear Equations – Mathematical Problem Solving – Body Systems – Video Production and Documentary Narrative Construction – 21st Century Skills

Here’s the problem: your good buddy has eaten 1000 calories too many in the past half hour. That same good buddy has four hours, under your direction, to burn those calories. Mathematically come up with the specifications for five activities that will burn these 1000 calories in that time period. And then do it! And document it. And report it…in under 120 seconds. (Due: 3.23.18)

A Burning Documentary

Tech You

Data Collection, Representation and Analysis – Self-Exploration – Technology and Society – Video Production and Narrative Construction – 21st Century Skills

All your digital and online interactions are little pieces of you – gigabytes and megabytes – sent out into the world that create a larger cyber representation of who you are, what you like, and how you live. As soon as you log on, sign in, or create anything on the web, the material is contributing to an ever-evolving digital identity. Each account is like an alter ego in which you, through a screen, interact with others and send a piece of yourself out far beyond your physical presence.

In this challenge, you and your team will track where you go digitally and for how long, over a five-day time period; articulate the data mathematically and graphically; and then create a visual and creative technological self-portrait of yourself to present it to your teammates. You think online personality quizzes deliver truth? No. But mathematics does.  (Due: 4.13.18)

Tech You

Green Monsters

Earth and Human Impact – Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy – Climate Change – Video Production and Narrative Construction – 21st Century Skills

In this Meridian Stories Challenge, your team is charged with creating a video story that is designed to educate elementary school kids about climate change by looking at the renewable and non-renewable energy use and waste around them. And how will you do that? By identifying some of the bad energy goblins right there in town and transforming them into bad guys! And, conversely, identifying some of the combatants of climate change…and making them good guys!  It’s the oldest story format in the world, but it can leave a lasting impression on younger kids. And this is an impression we need to leave. (Due: 4.13.18)

Green Monsters

STEAM Resources

Resources are short videos and three-page print outs that support the technology driven, project-based learning that comprise the core of Meridian Stories. From Digital Rules to Minecraft; Creative Brainstorming to writing fiction, as told by a best selling author, the Resource Collection is an exclusive Meridian Stories asset that assists students and teachers in their work.

JOIN THE MERIDIAN STORIES' COMMUNITY OF SCHOOLS TO ACCESS ALL THE COMPETITIONS, ACTIVITIES AND RESOURCES.

Singular Curricular Area

$150 per year

Access To

  • One of three curricular areas
    • Language Arts
    • History
    • STEAM

Including:

  • participation in up to 5 Competitions (which includes posting Student Video, receiving Mentor Feedback, and earning Digital Badges);
  • access to 8 Activities and 10 Projects; and 
  • access to the entire Media Resource Collection. 

All Curricular Areas

$350 per year

Access To

  • All three curricular areas
    • Language Arts
    • History
    • STEAM

Including:

  • participation in up to 15 Competitions;
  • access to all Activities and Projects; and
  • access to the entire Media Resource Collection.