Congratulations to our 2014 Siemens Summer of Learning Fellows!

STEM Blog

Making STEM with Raspberry Pi

Welcome to another post aimed at introducing you to engaging STEM ideas and resource that  might be a great part of your classroom. In this reading, we invite all STEM educators to look into a really sweet resource for their students. Rasberry Pi just might be the right recipe for your STEM classroom.  Please be sure to read and share…  make sure you give us a  follow on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad .  As always, thanks for joining us at the Siemens STEM Academy!  Now… read on… and  have a STEMtastic week! – Mike Gorman

You just might remember computer kits when the personal computer age first took off. In fact, a few of you may have worked with the Timex Sinclair Computer Kit. In 1982 it sold for $99 and had 2K of memory, used Sinclar Basic, and had a speed of 3.25 MHz. It was in direct competition with the Commodore Vic-20 which would later produce the Commodore 64. It is now 32 years later and there are some amazing opportunities for your students to Tinker with computers. It might be time you discovered the Raspberry Pi. This is an awesome tool that can be much more then dessert!

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that can plug into your TV and an existing keyboard. It is a amazing computer which can be used in electronics projects. It can also perform many of the things that a  desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. In fact, it can also play high-definition video. It is a wonderful tool for students and allows them to learn how computers work, how to manipulate the electronic world around them, and how to program. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a registered educational charity (registration number 1129409) based in the UK. The Foundation’s goal is to advance the education of adults and children, particularly in the field of computers, computer science and related subjects. Kits start at under $40 and provide a great opportunity for learning. Check out the links below to learn more about how you can bring the Raspberry Pi into your STEM classroom.

As you can see, computers have come a long way since 1982. The power and capabilities of the credit card sized Raspberry Pi are remarkable when compared to the room size computers of the past. Best of all, we can put this power and possibilities in the classroom. This invites opportunity that goes beyond what any classroom of even ten years ago may have had. It might be a perfect solution to get your students learning and Making.

We hope you enjoyed reading about this wonderful resource that could be a part of your STEM curriculum.  Please take the time to retweet and pass this information out to other STEM educators you think might be interested!  Now is also a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and also follow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad.  We have more great STEM information coming your way. Have a great week  and take some time to start making your own STEMtastic learning connections… today. – Mike Gorman 

Posted on September 15, 2014 by Michael Gorman
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Twenty Reason That STEM Classrooms Should Be Making

Welcome to another post aimed at introducing you to engaging STEM ideas and resource that  might be a great part of your classroom. In this reading, we invite all STEM educators to investigate the idea of creating a Maker Space opportunity for their students.  Please be sure to read and share…  make sure you give us a  follow on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad .  As always, thanks for joining us at the Siemens STEM Academy!  Now… read on… and  have a STEMtastic week! – Mike Gorman

Take a moment to contemplate what it would be like if every school had a Maker Space and it was part of the school curriculum. You may wish to dream of the possibilities for essential 21st century skill development and significant content skill alignment. Think about the aura of engagement, flow, grit, perseverance, problem solving, revision, reflection, and satisfaction in that amazing space. Contemplate parents asking the question, “What did you make in school today?” Now sit back and imagine the answer, and further conversations it would bring!

The thought behind the Makers Movement includes allowing people to imagine, envision, create, innovate, play, formatively learn, experiment, collaborate, share, and most of all dream of possibilities. The idea of making is really not a new concept. In fact, the art of making is at the root and mixed into to the very fabric of our culture. I believe that the amazing innovation we have seen in this country is due to a Maker mentality. We have long been a culture set on dreaming up possibilities, and then taking the action to make it happen. The initial growth of technology has somewhat taken some of our creativity and produced  consumption based thinking. We are now past the initial way of thinking, and the Makers movement allows people to finally use the technology to create and make.

It is encouraging to see that Education Maker Spaces are making space in numerous schools including elementary, middle, and high school. This was evident at the 2014 ISTE Convention in Atlanta with over 16,000 attendees and space for Maker vendors, Maker presentations, Maker playgrounds, and Maker possibilities. After all, childhood has long been a time that allows young minds to play and make. It is important to understand that allowing kids to be Makers opens the doors to personalized and authentic learning. Let me share a list that I feel are positive qualities that schools can Make, as take away ideas from the Makers Movement.

  • Allow for student intrinsic motivation and self-directed learning
  • Support students in a natural connection toward the facilitation of the 4 C’s
  • Engage students in significant content by allowing for connections to curriculum
  • Immerse students in experiences that promote the idea of flow
  • Provide students opportunities that allow then to fail in order to succeed
  • Emphasize to students and teachers the importance of process over outcome
  • Amplify or introduce to students the components of a school STEM disciplines
  • Provide for student opportunities to enhance Project, Problem, Design, Inquiry, and Challenge Based Learning
  • Promote student literacy through writing, reflecting, and journal writing while Making in specific subject areas
  • Engage students in relevance and connections through a authentic learning experience
  • Promote service student learning by identify and inventing solutions to local and world problems
  • Allow students to see the importance and value of the arts
  • Allow students to be a part of partnerships between school, home, and community
  • Create opportunities for students to be producers of content and products
  • Facilitate to students the idea of entrepreneurship through innovation
  • Provide students an opportunity to connect with college and career opportunities
  • Allow for student mentorship between students and also between community and students
  • Give students the opportunity to learn through kinesetic opportunities
  • Introduce students to the iterative process for problem solving
  • Support student inquiry by relaying the importance of good questions and continued questioning

I started this post out with dreams and imagination of what can be. Some schools are already making it happen. Perhaps your school and students are next? It might just begin with some Maker time in your own classroom… or even after school. It really is time  for you  to… Make it happen.

We hope you enjoyed reading about this wonderful resource that could be a part of your STEM curriculum.  Please take the time to retweet and pass this information out to other STEM educators you think might be interested!  Now is also a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and also follow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad.  We have more great STEM information coming your way. Have a great week  and take some time to start making your own STEMtastic learning connections… today. – Mike Gorman   

Posted on September 4, 2014 by Michael Gorman
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Letting go with PBL: Opening Doors to Deeper and More Authentic Student Learning Opportunities

 

Welcome to series of Blog Posts brought to you by some amazing past Siemens STEM Institute and STARs Fellows. Today's guest blogger is David Kujawski who teaches 6th grade science at Bird Middle School in E. Walpole, MA. Take a moment to discover more about David  following his  post. Please be sure to read and share…  make sure you give us a  follow on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad . As always, thanks for joining us at the Siemens STEM Academy!  Now… read on… and  have a STEMtastic week! – Mike Gorman

I have taught an environmental science unit for the past 9 years as a middle school educator using teacher-led activities with predictable learning outcomes.  I measured student learning with various forms of formative assessments, such as exit tickets, clicker responses, and the like, but there was something missing.  What is it you ask?  I had to let go of steering my students towards specific learning outcomes.  That’s right; opening up true inquiry by letting kids come up with their own driving questions allows them to become intimately familiar with what they were learning about ecology.  As the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) states, the project is the ‘main course’ of PBL, ‘not the dessert.’  In that, we are often tempted to plan content-heavy lessons and then assess learning via a project at the conclusion of each unit.  Additionally, we tend to assign projects that lack authenticity—direct connections to students lives that matter—resulting in uninspired projects that teeter towards busywork.  When teachers plan truly authentic PBL units, students’ questions take center stage as they research their topic, ultimately leading to solving a real issue in their community.  The project is the unit, not the summative assessment that skims the surface of true learning.  And it all starts with a great driving question.

After reading extensively about the BIE’s model for Project-Based Learning (PBL), I delved into the world of authentic learning experiences by asking students—“How do suburban lifestyles impact the ecology of our town?”  This question framed each group’s research of a specific environmental/ecological problem that affects Walpole’s ecology and human health.  To begin, I introduced students to a specific inquiry framework to follow when investigating their own questions about their ecological issue (figure 1).  Students then researched potential topics to investigate and picked their favorite.  They then framed their research by developing a guiding question of their own.   BIE has many resources that you can use to help your students, including a Tubric—a device that serves as a springboard for generating inquiry questions.  Once students have their questions they begin becoming experts on the ecological issue.  The two main challenges that teachers face when planning PBL units include letting go of control and assessment of student learning.

Providing structure with the inquiry process framework helps students focus their studies from class-to-class, but how do educators assess student understanding?  In many ways, assessing student learning is similar to a typical teacher-led lesson, only now the assessment questions might vary from group to group.  Since each group will be inquiring about different topics, such as low water availability or storm water pollution, you can circulate around the room to ask about specific ecology-related NGSS science standards.  Additionally, you can simply ask students what they’ve just learned.  My favorite question to ask is “How has your understanding of the topic changed over the past few minutes?”   This will allow you to “dip-stick” to assess student understanding of content and then see what questions they should raise—a ‘need to know’ list, if you will.  I also like to assign reflections as a form of assessment.  I simply ask students to reflect on their new found knowledge and ask them to create a ‘need to know’ list of topics to frame the extent of their research the next day.  For example, I asked students to pick which energy role—producer, consumer or decomposer—is the most important to an ecosystem.   At first, they have to get a general understanding of each energy role and then analyze the impact(s) that each one has on their ecosystem.  After inquiring, following the inquiry process, they develop a deeper understanding of each energy role and can explain how each one impacts their local ecosystem.  In a subsequent assessment I will ask them to write another reflection about the same question and base their response on the evidence collected during class.  Students realize that each energy role plays a crucial role in their ecosystem; one is not more important than the other.  This is a good time to tie in crosscutting concepts, such as matter and energy conservation, which leads to additional assessments.   For example, I could ask students to analyze a model of a food web to explain the significance of the arrows that connect various organisms.  Most students may initially respond that the arrow signifies energy moving from the prey into the predator, but they cannot clearly explain how much energy transfers from one organism to the other.  Additionally, they may not make connections that matter is also used by the predator to grow.  These shortcomings in their understanding can drive inquiry in subsequent lessons.  You can then ask the same question again to measure student understanding of the content.   The difference is that they will be investigating the topic as it pertains to their ecological issue.  Assessment in PBL actually promotes the incorporation of ELA Common Core Standards, especially those that ask students to formulate arguments using evidence from text.  As more and more schools adjust to adopting NGSS, they may also find science notebooks as a useful tool for tracking student learning.

Science notebooks have replaced binders in my PBL units.   There are many reasons for this, including serving as a place for students to record their ‘need to know’ lists and research findings, record observations from outside field trips where they investigate the biotic and abiotic factors in our schoolyard ecosystem, etc.  However, the main goal for using a science notebook is to prevent me from giving worksheets, as I would be tempted to do if they had a binder.  I still give handouts, but they are in the form of mini sheets of paper—which are stapled into their notebooks—that help guide students with their inquiry.  Previously, I viewed worksheets as a tool for implementing an activity that reinforced the content that I directly instructed during class.  The worksheet assessed students’ abilities to regurgitate information; they by no means inspired learning or made the content come to live.  PBL, however, does enable learning to come to live and has truly changed my perspective on teaching and learning.  I now have a better sense of what inquiry-based learning means and how to incorporate it more effectively.

Reflections on my PBL experiences:  I originally thought that it was impossible to cover content standards through PBL, but that is no longer the case.  In our PBL unit we investigated questions that were teeming with content.  Granted, the content may not be learned in the same structured sequence as in a standard classroom, but that shouldn’t be our concern as educators.  Empowering students, through authentic learning experiences, should be our focus—not vocab memorization or trivial knowledge that is assessed on a quiz and then forgotten afterwards.  If we really want to impact the future of STEM, whether it’s teaching kids to be more connected to their local ecosystem or engineering solutions to problems, we must plan lessons and units that involve real-world scenarios and connections.  Just talking about them isn’t enough, however.  Our kids need to make connections to their own lives and inquiry-based learning makes that possible.

Tips: Planning a PBL unit should start with looking at the NGSS and picking several that you would like to incorporate.  You should then think of what you would like students to do with the information that they have acquired through their inquiry.  In our ecology unit, I wanted to cover NGSS MS-LS2-1 through MS-LS2-5.  The summative assessments assigned for each group included a Pecha Kucha presentation about the issue and how it impacts ecological and human health and they also had to create educational materials that empower citizens to improve their environments by altering their lifestyles.  Pecha Kucha presentations are a new, more engaging presentation where presenters place images on each slide and then have 20 seconds to discuss the slide before it switches to the next one.  It’s kind of like a TED talk meets PowerPoint; highly engaging presentations that allow students to be creative and concise.  I mean, who wants to drudge through class after class of PowerPoint presentations?!  Give Pecha Kucha a try; you will be very pleased with the results.  My students will be presenting in front of actual ecologists, environmental engineers and town officials which adds to making the experience more meaningful, as well.  When it comes to the day-to-day lessons don’t be afraid to stop the inquiry process and implement more structured lessons.  For example, I planned a lesson that had students go outside to survey the biotic and abiotic factors in our schoolyard.  It’s one thing to research ecological issues; it is completely more meaningful for students to actually experience their findings first hand.  So, take them outside, mix it up, see where it takes them.  Most importantly, you need to embrace student-centered learning and let go of being in direct control!  In a way, PBL ties many differentiation tactics, which is another great reason—as if you needed on!—to  give is a try.

I hope that I painted a picture of what PBL can mean for you and your students.  If you would like to know more about PBL please take a look at the resources that I have included below.  An informed teacher is an effective teacher.  Become informed about PBL by reaching out to your global PLC community through DEN, twitter or blogs, and help bring learning to life for your students.  Remember: it’s not about getting through content; it’s about making the content relevant through authentic learning experiences.

Resources:

http://bie.org/ Go here to find information about Project Based Learning

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/10/the-inquiry-process/ This is a graphic organizer that I use to help my students with inquiry based learning

http://www.pechakucha.org/ This link will introduce you to the world of Pecha Kucha presentations

  David Kujawski, East Walpole, MA ... Bird Middle School

Twitter @STEMatBirdMS.

David Kujawski, of Franklin, MA, teaches 6th grade science at Bird Middle School in E. Walpole, MA.  David holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Dickinson College, an M.A.T. from Simmons College and a STEM Education Certificate from Teachers College, Columbia University through the NASA Endeavor Science Teacher Certificate Fellowship Project (Cohort 2).  He has been teaching science for about 9.5 years in formal, informal and higher education settings.  He is a 2013 Siemens STEM Fellow, NASA Endeavor Fellow (Cohort 2) and has been published in the NSTA Science Scope Journal.

We hope you enjoyed reading about making that STEM Tech Integration plan with David.  Please take the time to retweet and pass this information out to other STEM educators you think might be interested!  Now is also a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and also follow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad.  We have more great STEM information coming your way including more STEM ideas from our past Fellows. Have a great week  and take some time to start making your own STEMtastic learning connections… today. – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)    

Posted on August 15, 2014 by Michael Gorman
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Siemens STEM Institute... 2014 Fellows To Promote STEM in Classrooms, Communities, States, and Beyond

 

Welcome back to this very special week of posts. In this post you will  have the opportunity to learn from and network with those at the  Siemens STEM Academy. It is  STEM Institute  Week at Discovery World Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD. Join us all week and please be sure to read and share… make sure you give us a follow on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad . As always, thanks for joining us at the Siemens STEM Academy! Now… read on… and be sure to come back each day for a STEMtastic week of information and resources! – Mike Gorman

While it was the closing day of another Siemens Institute, it was a new beginning for the STEM Fellows and the students, educators, and districts they will be working with in the coming years. At the closing ceremonies it was obvious that the Fellows were excited about the new opportunities as they return to their schools and districts. They expressed their appreciation to the Siemens Foundation and Discovery Education for the wonderful week of opportunities they were part of. This included wonderful talks from STEM experts, opportunities to network with other STEM professionals, discovering new STEM opportunities, activities, and lessons, exploring some behind the scene STEM venues in Washington DC, and having a chance to be informed and give input at a White House Conference Center Meeting. It was an amazing week of experiences that all Fellows expressed was something that every STEM educators should have the opportunity to be a part of. It was obvious that these STEM educators will affect thousands of others through out the national STEM community.

How does one really express such a wonderful week of STEM Education? Perhaps it is in the collective thoughts of the participants. The graphic above is a Word Cloud representing the desires and hopes of each of the STEM Fellows. As in any word cloud, the larger words represent frequency of mention. A lot can be seen from the words inside the cloud. It is evident that the fellows are grateful to the Siemens Foundation, have a strong vision and mission to support STEM education, and put students at the forefront.  Keep looking and you will find even more! You can read each of the Fellows statements (entries for the word cloud) on the 2014 STEM Fellows Site along with their professional biography.

Thank you for joining us through out the week as we highlighted some of the various activities at the Siemens STEM Institute. Please continue to return to the Siemens STEM Academy Website as we feature the 2014 STEM Fellows through blog posts, resources, and webinars. We are certain that the 2014 STEM Fellows will make a continuous and lasting impact in their classrooms, districts, communities,  organizations, professional development venues,  governmental agencies, and most of all... with their students.

We hope you enjoyed following our week's activities and also discovered some valuable  resources that could be a part of your STEM curriculum.  Please take the time to retweet and pass this information out to other STEM educators you think might be interested!  Now is also a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and also follow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad.  We have more great STEM information coming your way. Have a great week  and take some time to start making your own STEMtastic learning connections… today. – Mike Gorman  

Posted on August 11, 2014 by Michael Gorman
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Why STEM? Why now? by Dr. Cindy Moss

 

Welcome back to this very special week of posts. In this post you will  have the opportunity to learn from and network with those at the  Siemens STEM Academy. It is  STEM Institute  Week at Discovery World Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD. Join us all week and please be sure to read and share… make sure you give us a follow on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad . As always, thanks for joining us at the Siemens STEM Academy! Now… read on… and be sure to come back each day for a STEMtastic week of information and resources! – Mike Gorman

It was Thursday morning and a great day to give STEM an even a further definition. The Siemens STEM Fellows were in for a special treat from  Dr. Cindy Moss the Director of Global STEM for Discovery. Cindy taught high school biology,chemistry and anatomy for 21 years in Syracuse, NY, and Charlotte, NC, before becoming the PreK-12 STEM Director for the 145,000 students and 10,000 teachers in her district. As a teacher, she won numerous local,regional and national awards including the MIlken National Teaching Award (often considered the “Oscars of Teaching”). At the helm of STEM, she made major changes in the culture of the district and decreased the achievement gap significantly. Most recently she was selected as “1 of the 100 Women Leaders in STEM” by US News and World Report. A sought-after speaker on STEM achievement, Dr. Moss meets with school systems, companies, nonprofits and education agencies helping them transform STEM teaching and learning around the world. Take a look at some of the major key points of this engaging keynote, or better yet watch the archived livestream. You may walk away with an even broader definition of what STEM education is all about.

Discovery Definition of STEM..... "Students and Teachers Energizing Minds"

Key Points

  • Statistics show that we are in need of science and math education
  • Goes beyond the extra-curricular
  • STEM happens in every classroom
  • STEM is a culture... it is thinking and learning
  • Teachers in the US need more time for planning and PD
  • Less emphasis on standardized testing
  • Engage the business community
  • Reverse the statement... Career and College Ready
  • To change culture ... 160 hours of PD over 3 years' time
  • How are you telling your STEM story?

In the Classroom

  • Ask questions... difficult to answer
  • Make observations... what do you see? what do you know? what do you wonder?
  • Projects need to be authentic
  • Allow for kinesthetic activities and movement
  • Create rooms that promote collaboration and activities
  • Students should present
  • Failing is the "First Attempt In Learning"

Links

Stem Connector - STEMconnector® is "The one-stop for STEM Information." With an innovative product-line, STEMconnector® works closely with corporations and other organizations to provide them with a set of tools and resources that support their corporate development, corporate structure and smart STEM investments.

Discovery STEM - As part of our commitment to STEM education for all students, we are excited to announce the launch of the Discovery Education STEM Camp - a dynamic series of standards-aligned curricula available at no cost to schools, districts, non-profit organizations, and parents for use as part of summer camps, after-school STEM programs or wherever support is needed. STEM Camp combines hands-on labs, engineering challenges, digital investigations, and more - all designed to immerse kids in the grand challenges of science set forth by the National Academy of Engineering.

The DEN - A global community of education professionals that are passionate about transforming the learning experience with digital media, the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) connects members across town and around the world through social media, virtual conferences and in-person events — fostering valuable networking, idea-sharing and inspiration. If you are passionate about transforming learning experiences with digital media, sharing resources, collaborating, and networking we invite you to take the next step in the DEN. Become a STAR Discovery Educator. It's easy. Just remember STAR:

Donors Choose - This organization is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on our site, and you can give any amount to the project that most inspires you.

Link To The Streaming Video

We hope you follow our week's activities while you learn about resources that could be a part of your STEM curriculum.  Please take the time to retweet and pass this information out to other STEM educators you think might be interested!  Now is also a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and also follow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad.  We have more great STEM information coming your way. Have a great week  and take some time to start making your own STEMtastic learning connections… today. – Mike Gorman

Posted on August 8, 2014 by Michael Gorman
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Soaring with Siemens STEM Fellows at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

Welcome back to this very special week of posts. In this post you will  have the opportunity to learn from and network with those at the  Siemens STEM Academy. It is  STEM Institute  Week at Discovery World Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD. Join us all week and please be sure to read and share… make sure you give us a follow on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad . As always, thanks for joining us at the Siemens STEM Academy! Now… read on… and be sure to come back each day for a STEMtastic week of information and resources! – Mike Gorman

The Siemens STEM Institute Fellows were in engaged Tuesday in over 15 hours of activities through out Washington DC. One of many stops was the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. This amazing museum maintains the world's largest and most significant collection of aviation and space artifacts. It allows visitors to investigate  the aspects of human flight, as well as related works of art and archival materials. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum operates two landmark facilities (Museum in Washington, DC and Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center) located near Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia).  These two museums together welcome more than eight million visitors a year. Needless to say,  it  is the most visited museum in the country. It also is home to the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies. Arriving before the museum opened allowed the Fellows to tour three of the exhibits. The Fellows were introduced and escorted by each of the exhibits' curators. They included:

There are about 45 exhibits that can be found at between the two facilities. When not in Washington you and your students can still visit these other engaging exhibits online online:

A must visit online resource for educators and students is a wonderful area entitled, Why Things Fly. Kid have the opportunity to learn some amazing concepts. What makes an airplane fly? How does a spacecraft stay in orbit? Why does a balloon float in the air?  Another interactive allows students to "Ask an Explainer". An Explainer is a highly trained high school or college student who can answer your questions about how things fly. Some great readings that students can partake in can be found at the Air Space Blog. This is a great resource to provide readings in the STEM content areas. The Fellows later journeyed to other amazing DC STEM locations, but will long keep this amazing museum of flight on there STEM Resource Radar! It is one that you may also want to take a flight to, on the web!

We hope you follow our week's activities while you learn about resources that could be a part of your STEM curriculum.  Please take the time to retweet and pass this information out to other STEM educators you think might be interested!  Now is also a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and also follow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad.  We have more great STEM information coming your way. Have a great week  and take some time to start making your own STEMtastic learning connections… today. – Mike Gorman

Posted on August 7, 2014 by Michael Gorman
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STEM: The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts

 

Welcome to a very special week of posts. In this post you will  have the opportunity to learn from and network with those at the  Siemens STEM Academy. It is  STEM Institute  Week at Discovery World Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD. Join us all week and please be sure to read and share… make sure you give us a follow on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad . As always, thanks for joining us at the Siemens STEM Academy! Now… read on… and be sure to come back each day for a STEMtastic week of information and resources! – Mike Gorman

It was the second day at the Siemens STEM Institute and Kyle Schutt from Discovery Education welcomed the 2014 Fellows, inspiring them to broaden their definition of STEM.  He emphasized, when it comes to STEM, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. STEM is so much more than the single subject sometimes taught in one classroom. ”  STEM is more then content... it is a culture and a way of learning.

In order to build a common understanding and launch point for their week’s events, the STEM Fellows were asked to frame STEM around collaboration, communication, creativity and community. In this manner they will answer the questions: “Why are we here?” and “Why STEM?”  Let's take a look at each of these ideas and discover some links that can expand STEM practice.  

  • Connecting - Connect with other STEM educators, experts. Using social media tools, webinars, conferences (including virtual), Professional Learning Communities (TwitterEdmodoGoogle+,Siemens STEM Academy)
  • Curation - What tools do we have to curate with. The informational explosion makes curation necessary. (SymbalooLive BindersEdmodo, LearnistScoop It)
  • Collaboration - Most great stuff happens in groups...collaboration is the stuff of growth (Sir Ken Robinson). Tools to collaborate with. (EvernoteGoogle Docs)
  • Creativity - How often are you working at the top of Bloom's Taxonomy. How often are you and your students sharing and getting feedback? (Caines Arcade)
  • Community - It is the community that glues all of the above together. (SoulPancake - Pep Talk)

Kyle concluded by reminding the Siemens STEM Fellows that a STEM Classroom is alive with real learning. It is an environment that promotes student thinking, engagement, and inquiry. It has the amazing opportunity to  open incredible doors to the future.Iin STEM, the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.

We hope you follow our week's activities at the Siemens STEM Institute while you discover ideas and resources resources that could be a part of your STEM curriculum.  Please take the time to retweet and pass this information out to other STEM educators you think might be interested!  Now is also a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and also follow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad.  We have more great STEM information coming your way. Have a great week  and take some time to start making your own STEMtastic learning connections… today. – Mike Gorman  

Posted on August 6, 2014 by Michael Gorman
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Opening Presentation: Rethinking the Flipped Classroom... By Dr. Lodge McCammon

 

Welcome to a very special week of posts. In this post you will  have the opportunity to learn from and network with those at the  Siemens STEM Academy. It is  STEM Institute  Week at Discovery World Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD. Join us all week and please be sure to read and share… make sure you give us a follow on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad . As always, thanks for joining us at the Siemens STEM Academy! Now… read on… and be sure to come back each day for a STEMtastic week of information and resources! – Mike Gorman

The 2014 STEM Institute got off to a STEMtastic start as Kyle Schutt from Discovery Education shared and welcomed STEM Fellows with a Video and then initiated the official playing of the STEM Anthem! After an introduction of an amazing group of 2014 Siemens STEM Fellows and week long facilitators, the Institute settled into an engaging talk on Flipped Classrooms, Music, Movement, and STEM with Dr. Lodge McCammon.

The session immersed STEM educators into music that contained lyrics that explored curricular content. The unique educational music shared, written by Lodge, soon had the teachers physically moving. This allowed the educators to see how concepts can be delivered through music, lyrics, and intentional movement. It was a valuable lesson that put the Arts in STEM... to make STEAM.

Lodge continued to discuss practical strategies that can be implemented to increase valuable classroom time while meeting the needs of diverse learners. He also suggested that students might possibly learn from information given in their own teacher's videos rather then ones that are found on the internet. He described what is referred to as the Three Pillars of the Flipped Classroom Practice which are described below.

The Three Pillars of the Flipped Classroom Practice

1. Develop relationships - Putting one's teaching on YouTube can be powerful and develop powerful relationships. This transparency allows for better communication between students, parents, and administrators and the teacher.

2. Reflective Practice on Teaching - It is powerful to watch one self as one teaches. It is reflective practice that allows for revision to reach full potential.

3. Efficiency -  Lectures are more productive in both time and learning. A live lecture vs video lecture(research study in hours): Elementary 23.4/5, Middle School 38.3/8.5. High School 37.8/10.5, College 54/19.8. Why the difference? Some of these include; behavior, interruptions, and questions (relevant to all).

Ten Thoughts on the Flip

1. Class instruction time  compared to video time... video can take 1/5 of the time  (Flip in efficiency)

2. If produced by teacher... the human relationships can make a difference

3. Students can create curricular content... not just be consumers

4. Teacher pushes the boundaries on what is talked about in the video

5. Frees up teacher cognitive ability to work with students and be creative and innovation... not be preoccupied by content

6. Keep the video creation simple for both student understanding and teacher productivity

7. One take video can be powerful not just in teacher creation but also student creation

8. Research states video should be as personal as possible

9. Use  outsourced videos in a very limited manner

10. Keep the technology simple

Links for Further Learning and Exploration

About Lodge - Learn more about Lodge McCammon and his initiatives at his website. Discover ideas regarding flipping the classroom along with other great educational teaching ideas.

Fifty State Project - As of this month Lodge has completed 21 songs representing 21 of the 50 states. His goal is to have all 50 states. Take a moment to check out some of these states.

Efficiency of Mind and Body - Wonderful video suggesting some important learning concepts that suggest how mind and body can work together to learn.

Video Lesson Plan - These videos (montage) can provide a quick review of the lesson involving music and movement to learn about the satellites and orbits in the solar system.

DEN Dr. Lodge Video Challenge - Discovery Education and Dr. Lodge McCammon invited teachers to participate in the DEN Dr. Lodge Video Challenge. Watch the various entries at this You Tube Channel.  

We hope you follow our week's activities while you learn about resources that could be a part of your STEM curriculum.  Please take the time to retweet and pass this information out to other STEM educators you think might be interested!  Now is also a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and also follow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad.  We have more great STEM information coming your way. Have a great week  and take some time to start making your own STEMtastic learning connections… today. – Mike Gorman

Posted on August 5, 2014 by Michael Gorman
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What Do These Names and STEM Have In Common?

 

Welcome to a very special week of posts. In this post you will  have the opportunity to learn from and network with those at the  Siemens STEM Academy. It is  STEM Institute  Week at Discovery World Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD. Join us all week and please be sure to read and share… make sure you give us a follow on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad . As always, thanks for joining us at the Siemens STEM Academy! Now… read on… and be sure to come back each day for a STEMtastic week of information and resources! – Mike Gorman

What do the names have to do with STEM? In case you didn't know, these are the 2014 educators that make up this year's Siemens STEM Institute Fellows.  The Institute dates back to 2010 and is a one-of-a-kind program that promotes hands-on, real-world integration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in the classroom. This diverse group of fifty educators selected as this year's STEM Fellows will experience a week-long professional development event hosted at the world headquarters of Discovery Communications, located outside of Washington, D.C. Fellows will learn from leaders, personalities and innovators whose work across STEM disciplines shape and define our world today. The week will be filled with guest speakers at the forefront of STEM education, Discovery Channel Talent, well-known educational facilitators, and field trips to leading institutions where Fellows will observe real-world applications of STEM subject matter.

These Siemens STEM Institute Fellows will also have the opportunity of networking and collaborating with peers from across the nation. An outcome of the Institute experience will allow Fellows to pay it forward by investigating and then planning ways to promote STEM education in their communities. Please return to the Siemens STEM Academy Website throughout the week where the 2014 Siemens STEM Institute Fellows will also be sharing valuable resources and information they find via webinars and blogs. Take a moment and learn more about these amazing STEM educators! We also invite you to follow the amazing activities this week at the Institute. Along with all of the reports at this blog, our Fellows will be tweeting out at #stemin14.  We invite you to follow us and our STEM Fellows by looking for and following the SiemensSTEMAcad on Twitter.

We hope you follow our week activities while you learn about resources that could be a part of your STEM curriculum.  Please take the time to retweet and pass this information out to other STEM educators you think might be interested!  Now is also a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and also follow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad.  We have more great STEM information coming your way. Have a great week  and take some time to start making your own STEMtastic learning connections… today. – Mike Gorman

Posted on August 3, 2014 by Michael Gorman
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