While working with the Teachers Guild challenge on STEM I focused on creating simple ways to incorporate more experimentation into my classroom. I created the Collaborative Tinkering Toolkit, which focuses on shifting mindsets. One of my biggest challenges is culture. How might I shift the culture of my district to accept that failing forward, exploratory and playful learning accomplishes both rigor and wellness? I'm from a wonderful district that values rigorous academic learning, and has been successful, in the traditional sense, for many, many years. However, over the last few years our issues around student (and teacher) wellness have become abundantly clear; we need to do something. Students are not sleeping well and focus on "doing school" as opposed to learning. I feel that we can have both rigor and wellness through STEM style teaching practices. I would love to get feedback on my Collaborative Tinkering Toolkit and hear how others are dealing with the challenges of shifting cultures, rigor and wellness in their institutions.
Research shows that women cited a lack of role models as a significant reason for leaving the fields of physics, chemistry, electrical engineering, and computer science. Roni Ellington, TEDx Speaker from Baltimore, said she “[struggled to get support with her STEM identity and STEM agency]” until she “had the opportunity to engage in rigorous STEM education” and then she started “to see herself differently.” My idea is to address this gap in STEM with a hands- on event for students called STEAM ComicCon — It’s an idea I submitted through the Teacher’s Guild which was then voted up as a top Favorite!The event’s purpose would be to leverage STEAM super(s)heroes in order to inspire all kids, particularly girls and students of color, to find their own STEAM identities and curiosities! Using an un-conference model there would be hands on workshops, playgrounds and panel shares to excite and engage students in STEAM concepts beyond the textbook. Let’s debunk the myth that only “geeks” and “smarty pants” are capable of pursuing their STEM curiosities and apply them to the real world! As Ellington would say, kids, regardless of “what neighborhood they grew up in” should get support to find their STEAM identity and STEAM agency. STEAM ComicCon would give kids the chance to get in contact with these Stealthy Scientists! Mighty Techies, Cosmic Coders, Makery Mathematicians, Lightning Bolt Engineers! STEAM ComicCon would ignite the super (s)hero in all of us!
Schools need to empower teachers -- and teachers, their schools -- to invest in daring, innovative models of learning that place collaborative, interdisciplinary, inquiry-based challenges at the center of our daily work. As a history and religious studies teacher, I feel ill-equipped to lead my students in anything resembling a STEM-based learning challenge. To live the message I mean for my students to learn, however, I sense that teachers like me are precisely the ones who need to pick up and practice these new ways, and make them ours. To that end, I'd love some feedback and wisdom from STEM educators about how this project might find authentic expression from their content areas and their expertise. I'm also keenly interested to learn how "non-STEM" teachers might re-think our personal approaches to teaching to help develop the inner Pilates muscles of STEM thinking from a wholly different perspective.
I work with a team of teachers (four others) and we want students to gain greater insight on the planet Mars by researching the atmosphere and surface of to discover challenges for human survival on the planet. Our big rocks are for students to collaborate & problem-solve with peers across the globe to build a community of future Mars residents. And have opportunities to visit sites that house designers & builders of space rockets; they’ll participate in discussion and questioning sessions with experts. A select group of students have access to one NASA doctor to ask questions about the effects of space on the human body. He has committed to being available to them in the future. Moving this project forward while meeting state and local district curriculum and testing demands limits the time and genuine interest in pursuing this area of study.