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Thank you to our attendees for attending the 2023 CoTA STEAM Institute on February 25 and March 4, 2023 at the new state of the art UC San Diego Park & Market building in Downtown San Diego. Visit our Instagram and Facebook stories for photos and videos from the workshops. Stay tuned for more info on our next event, the Artist Educator Workshop happening this Spring!

Download The 2023 CoTA STEAM Institute Flyer

What are our students trying to figure out right now?

For students to thrive in NGSS and meet or exceed test standards, they need to figure things out for themselves rather than learn about and represent knowledge. Students investigate, collect data to analyze and interpret, construct evidence-based explanations, explain their reasoning, and design solutions to problems. This is sense-making in action.

Join CoTA for hands-on, in-person, collaborative learning, as we figure out how arts integrated activities support K through 5th grade student sense-making in NGSS.

Our Phenomenal Workshops:

Visual Art & Phenomena = FUNomena!
With Teaching Artist, Albert Songalia
NGSS science units begin with students experiencing a phenomenon. Although phenomena do not have to be phenomenal, we want the experience to be mysterious and exciting enough that it sparks our students’ interest and questions. Their questions are essential to initiate an inquiry-driven journey of sense-making. In this workshop, we will view a phenomenon and discover the questions it elicits in us.  We will integrate visual note-taking and dynamic observational drawing, to hone our observational skills, and notice how engaging in visual art encourages us to take more time to observe a phenomenon. We will also consider how these artistic processes support students in seeing, thinking, and wondering about phenomena.

Interpreting Data – Scaling Up Graphic Displays to See and Comprehend the Whole Picture
With Teaching Artist, Leonardo Francisco
Data shows up at every grade level in NGSS, whether that is collecting data, representing it in graphical displays or, most especially, analyzing and interpreting it. Graphs are visual stories, full of patterns, that our students need to decipher. In this workshop, we will explore some visual art excursions into playful ways of looking at data, before embarking on some large-scale graphing. Just as Sherlock Holmes may turn a whole wall into a visual impression of the clues, we will collaborate in groups to visually represent data from low, mid, and upper grade elementary science in large graphical displays, with an array of art materials to assist us. We will also consider how this process supports students in figuring out how to analyze and interpret their data together.

The Dance of Dynamic Models
With Teaching Artist, Amanda Peñaloza-Banks
In NGSS, models are not just about modeling an explanation of a phenomenon. They are a tool in the quest to make sense of the world, and they evolve as new evidence is found. Our students need to be flexible thinkers, with the ability to revise their models each time they reach a new understanding. In this workshop, we will explore simple ways that we can embody scientific concepts and processes. Integrating creative movement, we will physically model a phenomenon based on the initial evidence presented to us. After investigating further and collecting more evidence, we will experience how our physical models can and should be revised to reflect our new understanding. We will also consider how these processes support students’ embodied cognition of phenomena.

Make your Claim with Theatrical Flair
With Teaching Artist, April Boatman
Some NGSS standards specifically call out for “making a claim”, however claim-evidence-reasoning (CER) has a place in every science unit, to support students in practicing their sense-making skills. In this workshop, we will integrate theatre to turn CER statements into dramatic and persuasive stories. Focusing on a problem within a system and potential solutions, we will write CER statements about causes and solutions. In collaborative groups, we will embed the statements within scripts containing dramatic elements such as climax and resolution, and translate these scripts into multimedia events with the help of WeVideo. We will also consider how this process supports students’ motivation to develop their CER skills.

The Fairytale About the Splendid Solution to the Impossible Problem
With Teaching Artist, Carmela Castrejón
Designing solutions is an essential practice in NGSS. Fairytales and stories provide playful, creative ways for younger students to engage. With a story as a backdrop, all we need is a design challenge to activate our students’ problem-solving capacities. In this workshop, we will read the beginning of a story about three humble goats. We will discuss the problem of the troll on the bridge and brainstorm possible solutions – how might we help the goats cross the river in another way? In collaborative groups, we will design and build a prototype solution out of an assortment of visual art materials. We will also consider how visual art can support an entire unit with, for example, sketches of animals changing their environments and visual representations of an alternate story.

Throughout these workshops, we will also highlight the importance of storytelling and the collaborative nature of science, and discuss how the arts align with good practices for supporting English Language Development, which is essential for students’ success in NGSS performance tasks.

Thank you to our CoTA STEAM Institute Sponsors!

Lead SponsorThe Conrad Prebys Foundation 
STEAM Institute Partner and Venue: The UC San Diego Department of Education and Community Outreach at the Division of Extended Studies
Rehearsal Space Sponsor: BK2 Cultural Center by Bilingual Kids