Bulldogger Tech Talk

November 26 - 30

Check out this short video about Audri and his Rube Goldberg machine. While this video won't give you an amazing classroom hack, I hope it serves as a reminder of how much our kids can do if we give them the tools and preparation.

Holiday Stem Activities!

Looking to incorporate those fun holiday activities, but still want to make sure they are beneficial to students? Here are some great holiday-themed STEM activities that can be adapted to most grade levels.

1. Jingle All The Way - Create a sleigh for Santa with just a few common items!

2. Give the Gift of STEM - Students will construct marshmallow shooters with PVC pieces.

3. Newspaper Christmas Trees - Students construct Christmas trees out of newspaper, then determine which tree can hold the most ornaments without breaking or falling.

4. STEM Advent Calendar - Count down the days until Christmas with a new STEM activity each day!

5. Christmas Candy Chemistry - Try these engaging, delicious experiments with your kiddos!

6. Galaxy Christmas Ornaments - From failed experiment to beautiful STEM activity! Kids will love creating this gorgeous ornaments.

7. How Many Kids Can Santa Visit - STEM project perfect for math class!

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What is Project Based Learning?

There is a strong emphasis on project-based learning in education today. Why is there such a push for PBL? PBL presents opportunities for deeper learning in context and engaging experiences which aid in developing skills for college and career readiness. Simply doing a project at the end of a unit is not PBL. There are three defining characteristics of project-based learning:

  1. Inter-Disciplinary - PBL focuses on gaining experience to solve real-world problems. Most often, real-world problems will not be solved with skills from a single subject. There will be a blending of language arts, science, history, math, and even visual and musical arts. PBL requires students to use inquiry, solution building, and product construction to solve the challenges presented to them.
  2. Rigorous - The biggest difference between PBL and projects comes is the rigor. PBL requires the application of knowledge and skill, not just recall or recognition. Students begin with the inquiry, then through the process dig deeper into their subject, not just the academic content, but also as it applies to real-world application.
  3. Student-Centered - PBL is student-centered. The teacher becomes more of a facilitator and mentor. The students become more responsible for their learning, using their own knowledge and ideas to solve the challenge they are given. The teacher is there to guide them in the right direction if they get stumped, but the teacher is not there to provide the solutions.

Although true PBL requires extra time and preparation, the rewards are truly worth the effort. There are numerous sources to help launch project-based learning in the classroom.

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