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The STEAM Café Library


This is the STEAM Café collection of our favorite instructional materials, blogs, lessons, videos, articles, stories, and stuff on STEM/STEAM teaching! Yen is a learning theorist and took the first crack at putting together this library. That means all the things in this collection are designed to support you with engaging your students' curiosity, excitement, and critical thinking skills. We even have stuff to help you advocate for more STEAM at your school!

The advantage of having all things organized and in one place is that you don't have to search endlessly through resources to find what you need. 

Oh, and Yen isn't a fan of dust. This is a living, breathing collection that changes and evolves over time. Did I also mention that it's FREE? Yes, FREE.

Why? Because we love you, and we want to support the amazing things that you are doing with your students each and every day. Please enjoy!

14 Modules


In this module, you will find resources to help you teach the engineering process to your students. We've added some videos, blog links, and even videos from guest interviewers in this module to help you.

If you are looking for specific engineering activities, please look in the STEM Makeover section of the library.


STEM Makeovers, Labs, and Activities

In this module, you'll find a number of our STEM and STEAM lesson resources and activities. We'll do our best to list them out for you so that they are easy to find. 

STEM Makeovers take your favorite STEM activities and make them more rigorous. Many "science" experiments are taught with step by step instructions which don't leave space for real science and engineering practices. True NGSS-aligned lessons are inquiry-based and incorporate practices and crosscutting concepts. 

Our STEM Makeovers put those practices and concepts into your favorite lessons and resources. Students are giving opportunities to try their experiments and builds more than once; they record and analyze data, self-reflect, and evaluate their own work.

Our STEM Makeovers tend to be seasonal, and some, but not all, can be found in this section. See below for our list (with links).

Teaching Snowflake STEAM

This module is a culmination of a Facebook group post that became a huge, collaborative, cross-curricular project! In this module, we gathered many of the resources provided by teachers, and also aligned everything to the NGSS and Common Core Math standards. Check here often, because we'll continue to add great resources as we go!

Playing with Circuits

Circuits:  Making Connections with Hands-on Learning, Basic Materials and Tools

Got some old festive tree lights laying around the house? Don’t throw them out. You can turn them into a curiosity center where students can explore the basics of electric current. They can be used for a variety of hands-on learning projects, like creating different types of circuits, light-up cards, or other projects.

If you are new to circuits, don't worry! Teresa walks you through the basics with this video and will tell you everything you need to know to teach this lesson/create this center in your classroom. If you look in the video viewer, you'll even see that there is a handy Table of Contents button on the bottom right corner so that you can skip over to just the parts you need!

Student Metasheets

We hate worksheets. Why? Because work does not always equal learning.

At STEAM Café, we prefer to use metasheets. The meta- in metasheets comes from the term "metacognition," which means developing self-awareness for one's own thinking and understanding. Hence, metasheets help students develop an awareness for their own learning and thinking processes.

The Next Generation Science Standards

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are three-dimensional, which means that even though they are more complex than what people are used to in the standards, it is that dimensionality that makes these standards so wonderful, as well. Once you get to know why and how the NGSS were written, you'll develop an appreciation for them, too. For one, the NGSS gives you the freedom to teach the way you know that students should be taught — through rich experiences saturated in contexts that allow learning to be deep and meaningful! 

This module will give you a friendly little introduction into the NGSS. We've included all kinds of goodies here, like posters to help break down each of the three dimensions, a juicy metaphor to help you understand how the dimensions work together, and videos to walk you through it all. 

Oh, and if you want to make the whole thing official, we've even got a class you can take for professional development hours through the University of Rochester. Neat, right? 

So please dive in. The water's perfect, and we've got a pool party going in there! 

Instructional Design with the i5Es

Instructional design is about how to sequence strategies, activities, and information to maximize learning. Because I'm a learning theorist AND an instructional designer, this module has my work written all over it (cue the geeky snort).

Now, you may have heard of the 5E model, which is used with The National Science Teachers Association. However, 5E was based on an OLD learning theory from the '80s! The i5E is an updated version of this beloved model, but with a twist — we use Interactive Spatial Learning Theory (ISL) as the foundation behind how we present this to you. 

...and yes. We absolutely DID make an ISL module for you! (And a class, too!)

Funding your STEAM

More schools are allocating funds for STEAM lessons, but if you need additional funding we are here to help! In this module, we share ways to seek funding for your STEAM projects. We also have people to support you!

Inclusion and Equitability

This section of the library provides resources for teaching students with special needs, English Language Learners and how to create an equitable classroom. We've also included a resource on classroom management for you, that works with all students.

We want an innovative future that draws on the creativity and ability of all of our students. If we want our students to see themselves as STEM professionals in the future, we have to provide them with the skills they need to be successful in STEM, as well as role models that they can see themselves in, and opportunities to feel competent and capable with the skills they have learned.

In STEM careers, we often see inequitable representations across characteristics like gender, race, and other factors. We want to give every student in our classroom the tools and representation they need to be successful in STEM. 

If you have any questions or need ideas on how to use these in the classroom, please ask away in our Facebook group, or send Yen an email at 


In this module, you'll find resources on Interactive Spatial Learning (ISL) and lessons on the learning assumptions behind this theory.

Stay tuned for more resources on Self-Determination Theory (SDT), and developing learning communities in the classroom.

Instructional Strategies for Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is an essential skill for students in this day and age. Students need to be able to look at information and the sources of that information with a critical eye. There are a variety of ways you can help your students develop and refine this skill.

The resources in this module will provide you with guidance for your teaching practices, examples and more. 

Modules for this product 14
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