STEM in the Fall
It's Elementary - Teacher PD
Teachers in the 1-4 STEM pilot group were trained in the incorporation of the Engineering Design Process into the elementary curriculum. The workshop was presented by facilitators from Stevens Institute of Technology and emphasized the use of the new engineering standards found in the Next Generation Science Standards.
Teachers experimented with using storybooks to introduce design challenges, created codes as instructions and designed water filters. The teachers were also introduced to the Engineering is Elementary program and it's accompanying kits. Three teachers will be piloting this program during the school year to determine its efficacy for use next year at each grade level.
The K-6 Technology support group was recently trained in the use of the Dash and Dot Robots (provided by an NPEF grant), the Green Screen (another NPEF grant), and strategies on how to implement and use a variety of age-appropriate coding apps. The training allows teachers to turn-key the important concepts with their peers and to help develop STEM related activities for the classroom.
First Grade - Using Story Books to Introduce Engineering
Third Grade - Halloween STEM
The challenge exposed the students to the concepts of mass and volume taught later in the year. Mass and volume pieces from the Go Math kits were used to test each bag and the students graphed the class data using tally charts, frequency tables, and bar graphs. The activity addressed a number of science and math standards while engaging the students in an engineering design challenge.
5th Grade Coding
The students programmed 'Dot' to complete a variety of sound/light sequence tasks using the Blockly platform and then used the program they created to play games involving variables. Students changed variables during the tasks and discussed the effect of each change. The activity was designed to strengthen student understanding of the role variables play in scientific investigations.
Reading about Engineering
Sixth-grade students at AWR have been reading and discussing the articles shown below on biomedical engineering from Newsela, an online current events literacy site.
- Up in the air: Do high-tech artificial limbs give athletes an edge?
- In world's first brain-powered drone race, everyone's head is in the game
- Kids love their Robohands
- A "bionic" leg that's a marvel of 21st-century engineering
- Does adding extra padding make football helmets safer? Experts split.
These articles are exposing the students to how the engineering design process has helped fix or improve the functioning of the human body. They are also an integral part of a new unit on the body systems that addresses the Next Generation Science Standards.
The course is designed to increase student fluency with computational creativity and computational thinking, and students are encouraged to take risks while collaborating with others and to recognize failure as a learning opportunity. Students reflect on their own work in online design journals, and analyze, critique and provide feedback for others before engaging in a final Hack-a-Thon of sharing, displaying, and presenting their projects and ideas.
Digital Art and Design
Students in the new NPHS Biomedical Engineering course have been using the engineering design process in the Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering unit. Students choose an organ of the body, used calipers and clay to create a 3D mold of the organ, and then used 3D pens (provided by a recent NPEF grant) to create a scaffold of their own artificial organ.
Students then ‘seeded’ their scaffolds with ‘stem cell material’ and compared their methods to that used by biomedical engineers at the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine. Next up.......designing an artificial heart.
Project Lead The Way (PLTW)
Introduction to Engineering (IED)
Students in IED began the year collaborating on the engineering design process to create a cable car device using balloons, tubes, and tape. Students then worked on developing their technical drawing skills, by working on isometrics, obliques, and perspective drawings of industrial designs.
Students are now applying new creative thinking techniques and team collaboration to design a mobile app. During all the activities, students are responsible for setting up and maintaining an engineering notebook and an online portfolio of their projects .
Students also took a tour of Bell Labs, where they meet with the engineers and visited the laboratories where many important technological advances were invented. The tour gave students a great insight into how STEM fields are affecting our future way of life.
Principles of Engineering (POE)
Students are now investigating sources and transmission of energy and their applications to real-world engineering problems.
This summer, high school teachers Mr. McGeechan and Mrs. Moser attended two weeks of intensive training focused on the PLTW methodology and its use in teaching the IED and POE courses. Feedback so far from students, teachers and administrators has been very positive. See the video below for an insight into the POE course.