I am a STEM Specialist at Langston Hughes Elementary School. I teach middle school students in our STEM Lab. There are six middle school classrooms (two in each grade for 6th, 7th & 8th). The students come to the STEM Lab twice/week for one hour each. I sometimes work with our K-5 students on an as needed basis for small group math or science instruction and I also teach dance instruction after school. I am also an instructional coach for our PreK-8 grade teachers, which means I plan and facilitate STEM professional development, model STEM best practices, and assist teachers in implementation of STEM best practices, primarily in math and science. Lastly, I coordinate our school’s annual STEM Expo and science fair.
My big idea is connecting student’s learning to real life through project/problem-based learning and utilizing a creative art connection, (specifically dance) to math and science. I will do this during the school day in our STEM lab by having students utilize their existing Portfolios (which they use to capture their daily work) to support other performances of understandings, such as building their own websites using Weebly, These websites will highlight their individual projects, which include various types of STEM projects called “Launchers.” Some example launchers include Photoshop, Westpoint Bridge Design, SketchUp, Makey Makey, Knex, PowerPoint and Kodu Game Creation. I will provide students with a checklist of assignments to complete for their websites (like the share tracker) to add to their websites.
Because students usually work in pairs, I will have them to share their work also utilizing a creative art form of their choice to highlight their projects - movie creation, video creation, skits, improvisation, dance and/or spoken word/rap. This will be added to their ePortfolios and/or websites.
My big idea will also be implemented in my after school dance program. I will particularly use this after school time to conduct my big idea of using art and creativity in teaching STEM. I will teach students in grades 5-8 math and science skills using dance as a tool. This will be called “STEMulating Dance.” Students will learn math concepts in number sense, geometry and measurement. They will learn science concepts in physical science, physics, life science, and space science. I expect to have approximately 10-20 students ranging from grades 5-8. Students will keep a digital journal of their reflections and take digital images in the real world depicting various math and science concepts covered in the sessions. Students will have pre-mid-and post assessments in the form of choreographic composition to show their understanding of math/science and dance concepts/skills. The culminating performance will be a student production in which students plan, produce, direct and perform their own show. Students will design their own sets and costumes, choreograph some of their own STEMulating dance pieces, and include video and images that chronicle their year of STEMulating Dance. I will also develop a math and science assessment that would assess their understanding and application of math/science skills.
I plan to infuse more technology into both of these STEM classes - use of video creation technology such as YouTube Creator, Weebly, Twitter, Plicker, Kahoot - https://getkahoot.com, and use of social media like Twitter for students to share their work and understandings with the world.
I will also utilize my Deep Play group’s study and use of PBL to help me with my Big Idea. My key concern is organization and consistent, valid assessments of various performances of understandings.