A goal for promoting healthy social and emotional learning is to encourage children to know themselves, think independently, and appreciate the multiple perspectives that help inform their thinking. The success of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math (STEAM) projects relies on students' ability to think independently as well as to objectively listen to and assess the thoughts and ideas of others. It's often difficult for students to share their independent thinking with classmates, yet successful learning depends on this. Providing students with a strategic approach to independent thinking and objective listening supports students' confidence and skill in this area. This same approach can be used with almost any STEAM activity, including the marshmallow-spaghetti tower and note-card tower challenges. Independent learners establish regular patterns of reading and research to persistently develop their independent thinking, self-management, and resulting activity.