17 Goals for People, for Planet

The STEMarts Curriculum Tool designs to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which address current global challenges. Through this partnership students know that they are working on meaningful solutions toward building a sustainable future for all. The Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. The 17 Goals were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which set out a 15-year plan to achieve the Goals. The BioSTEAM program addresses the following sustainable development goals.

Goal #17 PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Goal #18 SPACE FOR ALL initiative has the goal that another SDG, focusing on space, will be implemented in the very near future and that space is recognised on a global agenda.

Goal #11 SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

GOAL #4: QUALITY EDUCATION: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Next Generation Science Standards

As a whole, the BioSTEAM Curriculum Tool aligns with core ideas from the Next Generation Science standards(NGSS), and the P21 Framework for 21st Century Learning. In addition, each BioSTEAM project addresses specific science standards relating to that sci-art intervention. For example, the Pollinator Concentrator installation addresses the Core Idea LS4.D Biodiversity & Humans.

The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences released the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which lay out the disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts that students should master in preparation for college and careers.

The P21 Framework for 21st Century Learning was developed with input from educators, education experts, and business leaders to define and illustrate the skills, knowledge, expertise, and support systems that students need to succeed in work, life, and citizenship. The Framework continues to be used by thousands of educators and hundreds of schools in the U.S. and abroad to put 21st century skills at the center of learning. All elements of the Framework are critical to ensure 21st century readiness for every student.

Below are key definitions and core ideas from the NGSS that are investigated through this curriculum. You can share these core ideas with students to inform their design thinking.

Definitions of Technology, Engineering, and Applications of Science

  • Technology is any modification of the natural world made to fulfill human needs or desires.
  • Engineering is a systematic and often iterative approach to designing objects, processes, and systems to meet human needs and wants.
  • An Application of Science is any use of scientific knowledge for a specific purpose, whether to do more science; to design a product, process, or medical treatment; to develop a new technology; or to predict the impacts of human actions.

Core Idea ETS1: Engineering Design

ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting an Engineering Problem

ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions

ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution

In ETS1 Middle school students  engage in the engineering design process in a way that is personally relevant and on an appropriate scale.

In ETS1 High school students are called on to engage in the engineering design process to address complex real-world problems that account for societal needs and wants and use practical criteria.

BioSTEAM Objectives

  • By experimenting with the BioSTEAM Projects which focus on research, experimentation and design, students will understand the stages of the engineering design process to explore real-world problems.
  • Students must develop a design solution through the BioSTEAM Design Challenge to meet the design criteria and constraints of the problem they are proposing to solve.

Core idea ETS2: Links Among Engineering, Technology, Science, and Society

ETS2.A: Interdependence of Science, Engineering, and Technology

ETS2.B: Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World

BioSTEAM Objectives

  • By exploring the influence of science and technology on society and the environment through artistic and interdisciplinary projects the students investigate the underlying personal, ecological and sociological factors and develop an understanding of the interconnections of STEM, society, and the natural world.
  • Students investigate and understand the human impact of technology and engineering design and are empowered to become creative participants instead of passive consumers with respect to the applications of science and technology in their personal and professional lives.

NGSS Crosscutting Concepts woven through the BioSTEAM projects provide students with connections that are related across the differing areas of disciplinary content and can enrich their application of practices and their understanding of core ideas in science. These same crosscutting concepts are explored in the BioSTEAM sci-art approach through visual, auditory and linguistic explorations.

•Patterns   •Cause & effect   •Proportion & Quantity    •Systems & System Models   •Energy & Matter   •Structure and Function   •Stability & Change

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The P21 Skills Framework promotes an understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into key subjects:

•Global Awareness   •Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy.   •Civic Literacy•Health Literacy    •Environmental Literacy


  • Focuses on 21st century skills, content knowledge, and expertise.
  • Builds understanding across core subjects and 21st century interdisciplinary themes.
  • Emphasizes deep understanding, rather than shallow knowledge.
  • Engages students with the real world data, tools, and experts they will encounter in life.
  • Allows for multiple measures of mastery.

BioSTEAM objective:

  • By working in self-directed teams to explore the curriculum tool to research and then create art or experiments in the BioSTEAM projects, students gain essential skills necessary to succeed in 21st century life and work environments.

Learning and Innovation Skills
Learning and innovation skills increasingly are being recognized as the skills that separate students who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in the 21st century, and those who are not. A focus on creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration is essential to prepare students for the future.

BioSTEAM objectives

  • Students imagine and design new solutions to real world problems personal expression.
  • Students research and experiment to understand complex topics experientially.
  • Students engage in discussion and collaborative team work to reach target goals.

Information, Media, and Technology Skills
Today we live in a technology and media-suffused environment with: 1) access to an abundance of information, 2) rapid changes in technology tools, and 3) the ability to collaborate and make individual contributions on an unprecedented scale. To be effective in the 21st century, citizens and workers must be able to create, evaluate, and effectively utilize information, media, and technology.

Objective:  Through the BioSTEAM WIKI platform students must learn to search through hyperlinked articles, videos and research papers to gather the information about the proposed project. They develop scientific literacy as they check and cite sources on scientific content.

Life and Career Skills

Today’s students need to develop thinking skills, content knowledge, and social and emotional competencies to navigate complex life and work environments. P21’s essential Life and Career Skills include:

•Flexibility and Adaptability •Initiative and Self-Direction. •Social and Cross-Cultural Skills •Productivity and Accountability •Leadership and Responsibility

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Space Messengers is made possible in part by the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund for U.S. Alumni; an opportunity sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by Partners of the Americas. This project is supported in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and by the National Endowment for the Arts

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