Phoenix, Arizona,
08:00 AM

Turn Up for STEAM

Where Hip Hop Meets Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math

When you think of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), you surely think of Hip Hop. Wait a minute…

One of the fastest growing areas for U.S. job growth is in high tech sectors where a STEM foundation is essential. Programs across the nation are looking for ways to engage students in STEM learning. And to show students STEM isn’t just for the “smart kids.”

Inspiring students to embrace STEAM can take some creativity. In Phoenix, AZ, music, specifically rap, is exciting students about STEAM.

Rap + STEAM = Brighter futures

Not everyone at the Turn Up for STEAM event wanted to be here. You could see it in their faces. Maybe mom or dad insisted they attend.

Several students moodily stood around waiting to sign in and pick up their event gear. The event would take up their entire weekend.

But that attitude doesn’t last long. The music-based format grabs their attention, like when they listen to their favorite songs. The music makes learning not just relevant but fun.

“It’s exciting to see students change their views of themselves and STEAM when you use what they know as a tool to help them unlock what they don’t know,” Loretta Cheeks, Strong Ties.

Watching LaMar Queen and David Landix from Music Notes, the music/math team, is exciting.

They get the students hyped up using Hip Hop, art performance and digital design. This helps change the way students understand math, science, technology and problem solving.

Students start out rapping about why STEAM is important to them and learn how it works in life. The next phase of the program takes them through critical thinking exercises. Students then present their project ideas to help transform communities, industries and lives.

Rapping can look easy, but there is a science to it. Rhyming about math, coding, or even science on the fly; it's a lot trickier than it seems.

A math problem must be solved in a few sentences that ends with the same sounding word. And don't forget to add the musical measurement of bars to the mix.

Turn Up for STEAM aims to motivate and excite students about education. The unique program is run by nonprofit Strong Ties with the help of volunteers, parents, teachers, a local community college and State Farm.

Two hundred students, even homeschooled high school students attended the event. “Turn Up for STEAM gives me an introduction to math, science, and engineering. Now, I want to attend college and study science and technology,” says Amir.

To learn how to get students involved in STEAM programs in your community speak with your school; look for summer day camps, parks and recreations programs, library or community centers events; or search for STEM/ STEAM programs online.

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