The Action Plan
My Desired Results
My big idea for the 2015-2016 school year is to help facilitate the integration of STEM across the curriculum by providing a STEM insructional model for math. My objectives are as follows:
- To make it clear as to what a STEM classroom entails.
- To see STEM integration in every math classroom
- To help develop the mindset that promotes a STEM education.
- Traditionally, students have hit the books to find their information. Their learning stemmed from scouring chapters of a textbook, defining terms in the glossary, and highlighting pertinent sections. There’s an occasional demonstration or class discussion, and then it’s test time. In previous generations this method of learning was durable. Having an abundance of information about a subject matter was enough to academically be successful.
To stay at the cutting edge of science and technology for the 21st Century, you have to know more than information, you have to know how to think in novel situations. Of the 20 fastest growing fields, 15 of them require significant preparation in mathematics and science. The National Science Foundation, DRPF Consults.com, estimates that 80% of the jobs available during the next decade will require math and science skills. The traditional teaching model would not provide the best format for students to learn and prepare for the 21st Century workforce.
A STEM education breaks away from traditional models by integrating science, technology, engineering and mathematics into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications. My desire is to see students explore many avenues of education and immerse in a variety of project based learning experiences. Activities and course materials would therefore focus on actual use and application of the learning objectives. Students would find practical applications in their coursework and become active learners of the materials. When students understand how their learning applies to the world and to their lives, they will then begin to develop the capacity to solve problems, innovate, invent, think critically, and become self reliant and technology literate.
To help facilitate a STEM classroom model, I will be working directly with K - 8th grade math teachers through professional development, coaching, meetings, classroom observations and modeling to offer tools and strategies. The emphasis would be on the utilization of problem based learning and the engineering design process. Other aspects that will be considered is incorporating NGSS science standards and CCSS math standards, technology, real world experiences, history facts for the day, world of wonder and tech Tips.
STEM Education vs. Traditional Model, Jason Kruger, Thursday, May 22, 2014.
Public School Review: the Rising Popularity of STEM: A Crossroads in Public education or a Passing Trend, http://www.publicschoolreview.com.
Performances of Understanding
Classroom observations, interviews and surveys will be the bbasis by which I will able to determine what students.
Classroom Observations/Surveys for Teachers
At my school there are 17 regular teachers. There are two regular teachers per grade for K - 5th grade and 4 regular teachers for middle school , 6th - 8th grade. My goal is to collaborate with teachers providing support through modeling, coteaching, coplanning and observations. I would also distribute a survey to see how much teachers already know about STEM instruction. During observations I would place strong emphasis on student engagement and student learning opportunities.
There are six characteristics that defines a STEM classroom and a great STEM lesson:
- A STEM lesson should focus on real-world issues and problems. In STEM lessons, students address real social, economic, and environmental problems and seek solutions.
- A STEM lesson should be guided by the engineering design process. The EDP provides a flexible process that takes students from identifying a problem—or a design challenge—to creating and developing a solution.
- A STEM lesson immerse students in hands-on inquiry and open-ended exploration. In STEM lessons, the path to learning is open ended, within constraints. (Constraints generally involve things like available materials.) The students’ work is hands-on and collaborative, and decisions about solutions are student-generated. Students communicate to share ideas and redesign their prototypes as needed. They control their own ideas and design their own investigations.
- A STEM lesson should involve students in productive teamwork.
- A STEM lesson should apply rigorous math and science content your students are learning. In your STEM lessons, you should purposely connect and integrate content from math and science courses. In STEM, students also use technology in appropriate ways and design their own products (also technologies). When the arts are added, the STEM acronym becomes STEAM.
- A STEM lesson should allow for multiple right answers and reframe failure as a necessary part of learning. The STEM environment offers rich possibilities for creative solutions. When designing and testing prototypes, teams may flounder and fail to solve the problem. That’s okay. They are expected to learn from what went wrong, and try again.
Plan Learning Experience and Instruction Context
In my present role as a STEM Math Specialist, I co-facilitate the engineering lab exposing middle school students to various engineering apps and kits that allows them to receive engineering related and exploration experiences. In an effort to help establish the school as a STEM school, I facilitate STEM family nights and STEM field trips, develop partnerships with universities and organizations and provide workshops for teachers and parents. In addition, I have coach and supported math and science for K-8th grade teachers.
These experiences have been great as far as developing relationships with teachers, parents and partners and exposing the school to STEM. It has also help to establish the school as a STEM school. At the same time, it has been overwhelming in trying to help teachers truly understand and transform their instruction to align with the expectations of being a STEM school. Because we have technology in every classroom, the misconception is that technology makes the classroom a STEM classroom. Technology should be used to uncover learning.
Overall, students, parents, and teachers are embracing STEM and enjoying being in a STEM school. The benefits (after school activities, competitions, hands-on experiences, field trips, etc) is definitely making the transition worthwhile. What still needs to be address is how to integrate STEM in the classroom.
My desire is that teachers would embrace the STEM instructional model and be willing to shift their instruction to help students develop the skills of the 21st Century. In this venture, students will be able to apply the engineering design process, think critically and collaborate as a team to produce a product. Some students have not been given the opportunity to be self directed learners or given an opportunity to understand that failure is okay. In the STEM world, the acronym FAIL means “First Attempt In Learning”. Some students have not been given an opportunity to work on projects and explore problems and discover answers. In essence, some students have not been given the the opportunity to exercise reasoning skills, or to be creative or see education through real world experiences.
As the STEM Math Specialist, I will serve as a facilitator to students and teachers. For teachers, I will provide workshops, model lessons, collaborate, demonstrate and provide visualizations through videos and power points. My objective is to help teachers facilitate a learning environment that is student centered, independent and group project oriented, inquiry based and service oriented, and involves discussions, essays, collaboration, simulation, learning logs, gamification, practice and experiments. Engaging students in real world experiments will allow them to explore and tap into aesthetic learning; the learning is more open ended and intuitive.
The technology that will best address my problem is the use of laptops, Ipads, chrome books or desktops computers, digital cameras, videos, SMART boards, Wifi microscopes, STEM kits and devices and online resources. Online resources will provide a means for research and exploring, will offer a variety of apps,.and will allow students to develop visualizations of their work including a power point presentation.
It is very important that students capture those moments of designing and building a product, or completing an inquiry based project or assignment. Sharing their STEM classroom experiences through photos and videos will not only give students a chance to reflect but it will show evidence of learning and progressing as a school.