Elementary Education professionaL Technology Innovator
Year 2 - Action Research
STEM is the current "buzz" word shaking schools. This clever acronym has inspired meaningful change in many school and helped bring a fun and making into kids lives. However, as an elementary teacher, I often wonder how STEM really applies to a group of 6-year-olds or 9-year-olds. Are these kids REALLY scientists, engineers, technicians?? The answer is NO. Kids ARE LEARNING the skills necessary to become these things. And that is where I bring in the Habits of Mind. These 16 habits are a list of qualities or characteristics you want people to have. For example, persisting; what teacher doesn't want their student to be persistent?
I believe the Habits of Mind represent the true STEM in Elementary. I have spent a year doing "STEM" projects and integrating the Habits of Mind into our classroom. Through activities and surveys, I have collected the following information and Data.
Each activity had targeted STEM Skills and Strategies. This format follows out Reading Skills and Strategies of our Wonders Reading Curriculum. The skills and strategies were introduced and addressed at the beginning and end of each activity.
Caine is a young kid from LA who built an arcade out of cardboard and whatever else he could find! This is a great example of many of the habits of mind. At the end of Unit 1, 4th grade participated in a Caine's Arcade challenge and built their own arcade Game out of Cardboard and other recyclable Materials.
Unit 2 of the Reading Wonders Curriculum is all about Animals. Student learn about animals through their reading, they also learn about animals in science, and have a research project to complete in library. We turned this into a cross-curricular project in which students completed the following.
Develop an Informational Presentation about your animal
Create a 3D animal equipt with Robotics
Program an Animal Robot to showcase a New Adaptation
STEM involves many different facets including Mathematics. Students were given valentines candy an d challenged to collect data and solve math problems related to the towers they built. This hands on activity was very engaging and an easy way to practice necessary skills.
Targeted Skills & Strategies: STEM Skill:
Striving for Accuracy
Questioning and Posing Problems
Student's Reflective Thoughts
Breakouts are challenges that require a group to find hidden clues so open locks and solve a mystery. We completed an online breakout, "Queen of Hearts".
At the end of Unit 4 and the PSSAs students participated in a hands on STEM challenge involving science, math and current events. Their mission was to safely land a rover on Earth keeping in mind Shock Absorption and Stabilization.