STEM at a glance
February 2016 So, I started this website to detail our current struggles integrating STEM units. The main idea started as a project as part of my CTEPS work. I showed it to my students and they wanted to contribute so I'll be turning it over to them and just updating this little section right here myself. Stay tuned for more!
A little bit more about the engineering STEM unit we're building: it's hard to find a middle school engineering program that doesn't cost _a lot_. Why do companies always think schools have money? I got together with math and IT (because I hate Math and the internet personally) to help me design a unit that would eventually get our core group of students designing and printing these products on a 3D printer. We invited social studies in (because we all love dead things) and started working on the bones of our unit. Eventually, as the final student product began to take shape, we realized we had to get art involved and add that A for STEAM. Group efforts are always so much fun. No, really. On the bright side, we got the band together for our next attempt at unit writing this summer! (Shout out to the LA teacher who kept correcting my grammar on this page. Thanks. I almost mean it.)
So, still in our unit. It's become increasingly difficult to get access to computers who can handle Autodesk, or Tinkercad or Cura thanks to the latest round of school wide Map testing and ILPs. Is it just me or does technology for school almost always end up being for testing or paper writing and not for ..yeah. Anyway, it's hard to keep up continuity when you can only work once a week. The math teacher and I both decided to pursue Voya grants to help and improve this unit next year. Here's to hoping one of us gets some money for technology! We've already decided a few dates this summer to meet to look over grant opportunities and try to write up some more.
The unit itself is going very well! Students are working on their pyramids with most being finished. Many of them have already started working on their final project. It's been kind of hard to get enough computers for the class to work on it consistently though. Our unit is going a lot more slowly than anticipated because the library and the computer lab are almost always full. We're lucky to get 2 days a week to work! I'll have to start looking into programs that can be run on iPads or Surface RT's. The students have been working on a side project with Forensic Science outreach. Their trying to locate a missing Davinci painting. Most other teams in the school got stalled at the section where students had to scale down the two paintings in the challenge and then choose 14 drill sites, but our engineering students sailed through it in 1 class period! It's been taking the other team 3-4 class periods.
Jessica Elliott NBCT Science Wildlife Rehabber
7th grade Teacher (Wildlife and 7th graders are basically the same thing! AmIRight??!)