16 Replies Latest reply on Aug 6, 2010 9:20 AM by glen_w

    Essentials Training with a STEM Focus



      What are these teachers doing in this slide show?

      It appears as if there’s a lot of attention to bottled water in this slide show, but the teachers weren’t doing taste samples. The teachers were designing insulated water bottle holders.This was the first activity of the NY ITA’s recently completed Essentials MT Training with a STEM Focus. The class was divided into teams of three. Each team was challenged to design a water bottle holder that would: keep the water cool, be comfortable to use, have little impact on the environment, have a low production cost, and have aesthetic appeal. They received three hundred play dollars. The “money” was used to purchase materials and rent tools from a “supply store” in the back of the lab. Prices were high! Some examples: corrugated cardboard was fifty cents a strip, bubble wrap was one dollar a square inch, tape was fifty cents an inch. Most teams started the project by testing the insulation value of the materials with temperature probes. After the water bottle holders were constructed the probes were used again to monitor water temperatures throughout the day. Starting and ending temperatures were recorded in Google spreadsheets.

      Alternate link to slide show if the embedded version is not showing http://picasaweb.google.com/tdiener/STEMEssentials?feat=directlink

      Some of the conversations generated about Project Based Learning during this activity were: What standards were addressed? What science, mathematics, engineering, and technology objectives were addressed? What higher-order thinking skills took place? What 21st century skills were used? What Essential Questions could have been used? What assessment instruments could be used? This was project-based learning to learn project-based learning, and it was a great segue into the Essentials course content.

      Why the STEM Concentration?
      Consider the following excerpt from a recent article in Forbes magazine…
      “For every new Ph.D. in the physical sciences, according to the Aerospace Industries Association, the U.S. graduates 50 new MBAs and 18 lawyers; more than half of those with bachelor of science degrees still enter careers having nothing to do with science. The ACT testing service says only 17% of high school seniors are both interested in STEM majors and have attained math proficiency. Even among students who begin college pursuing a STEM degree, only half wind up with one. Finding new STEM teachers has become especially urgent: As of two years ago, nearly 60% of U.S. workers with STEM degrees were 45 and older.

      It used to be that universities didn't particularly worry about the number of STEM grads. But that was before the days of Google and the ravenous demand for technologists. Colleges are only starting to adapt. Calculus has long been known as a "STEM killer," so many schools are trying to get away from passive lectures and make students learn interactively with computers. Engineering schools are trying to introduce jazzier real-world problems into the curriculum. The Obama administration has focused on lower levels in the educational food chain. Earlier this year the President announced $250 million in federal spending and private investment to hire thousands of math and science schoolteachers.”
      Forbes Magazine, June 9, 2010, David A. Kaplan
      Link: http://money.cnn.com/2010/06/09/news/economy/few_science_majors.fortune/index.htm

      Intel Essential’s Project Based Learning strategies are a perfect way to encourage, engage, and empower students and teachers in real-world STEM activities.

      What Happened After the Water Bottle Activity?
      Each day before delving into the Essentials, teams modified and improved their prototypes. Traditional course content and activities were always presented with a STEM focus. Different probes were introduced daily and considered for inclusion into unit plans.

      Participants had a very busy week learning the course content, developing unit plans, participating STEM and probe activities, and learning to become a trainer, but everyone came through. The New York ITA now has 14 certified and authorized Essentials STEM MTs ready to train.

      The New York is eager to hear other ITA's plans for STEM intitiatives. What's happening in your state?



        • Extreme Makeover: STEM Edition -Day 1


          I have been involved in an Essentials STEM training with Glen Westbroek and Doug Caldwell in Oregon. What did the day hold in store for us - 21 educators excitedabout the 21st century skills! The participants traveled from all areas of the state of Oregon and ranged from special education backgrounds totechnology trainers. One of the biggest  messages that the participants walked away with from day 1...Curriculum Developers can be teachers – you develop the way content gets delivered to your students. Be prepared to make changes!



          What was different in this Essentials class?...Vernier Probes! The participants started with motion detectors and discussed data and graphs. A Probes  sandbox was introduced later in the day - materials and probes provided and you bring the fun. The educators completed a matching graphs activity and shared results with the class. What was so powerful about this?  Interpreting graphs and really looking at data – having a personal connection with the data by creating it.

            • Re: Extreme Makeover: STEM Edition -Day 1

              The first day was packed with information. SO great to be working with people who are all so interested in STEM subjects. I look forward to bringing a new science unit back to my classroom.


                • Re: Extreme Makeover: STEM Edition -Day 1



                  I agree that the first day was packed with information. Everyone in this workshop is so focused on STEM and it is very interesting to see how we each are working to find ways to incorporate STEM in our classrooms. Like you, I am excited to participate in this workshop and look forward to what else we do this week.


                  And a HUGE thanks to Susan for posting the pic and information about Day #1.

                    • Re: Extreme Makeover: STEM Edition -Day 1

                      Glen, I really like the  Extreme Makeover title...did you have a "move that bus" activity at the end of the training?


                      As I look over all your posts from your STEM Essentials training I see similarities between your training and ours here in NY. The probes were amazing tools to engage participants. They made provided connections to the content that other technology just can not do.


                      Our training just like yours was jam-packed! (As if Essentials doesn't have enough content already). Even though our participants left each day exhausted, they all indicated it was well worth it.

                        • Re: Extreme Makeover: STEM Edition -Day 1



                          We are on day three of the course today. I do not think the participants will understand the "Move that Bus" connection. ALL of the Intel Teach people who have seen the course certainly would be yelling it loudly based on watching these teachers. We continue to modify the agenda each day as we go through the course.


                          I'd love to have you post your agenda from your STEM Essentials training. I know we do not have time to change the planned agenda of what we are doing here, but with time we may develop a tremendous course for STEM education.

                    • Re: Extreme Makeover: STEM Edition -Day 1

                      Hey Susan,


                      The Vernier resources are great. There is a program that makes these resources available to the blind (don't remember the name).


                      Do you think the states are going to get money for teacher use of the resources?


                      Will there be any professional development offered where we can access the probes if we are not "science /math" teachers? I did take a course through ULM in 2005 and the course covered using these tools then. However, the grant I wrote for funding was not as prosperous as the opportunities science teachers had for attending a workshop and getting some tools.

                    • Extreme Makeover: STEM Edition -Day 2

                      It is Day 2 of the Essentials training and we are still going strong. The participants are developing their units with the probes in mind - to get them ready for implementation they experienced some engineering activities on this day. Educators were shown the video feature of logger pro. They constructed beams and tested the force while the activity was videoed. They were able to pause the video and see exactly when the beam gave out in the experiment - there were many oohs and ahhs with the webcam addition.




                      The engineering theme continues as groups were later given a problem to solve like filtering water, finding a material to block the sun and creating a windmill. They were only given a problem and variety of materials/probes and they had to bring their creativity to the table! Rich discussions occurred around experiment designs, probe usage and results.



                      small filter.JPG


                      The particpants are routinely using Engage and they are slowly venturing out of our group to find valauble resources in the community. I am looking forward to day 3 as the unit plans continue to grow - I can't wait see what is next.....stay tuned!

                        • Re: Extreme Makeover: STEM Edition -Day 2

                          WOW - it looks like you all are busy and having a great time using all different kinds of technology - engineering is a great way to bring in project-based ideas.  What are some of the projects that teachers are developing? I can't wait to hear about the real world connections. 


                          In addition - what is the range of grade levels that are being covered in this training?


                          I hope you keep sharing!

                            • Re: Extreme Makeover: STEM Edition -Day 2



                              We have a wide range of teachers participating! There are a total of 21 teachers and they range from Elementary School up to High School. Developing projects are interesting at this point!


                              I've listed a few of the project ideas that I've seen so far:

                              • Students will develop and implement an ecologically sound waste management program for our school that seeks to find the best composting methods for anything that grows and can decompose.
                              • Students will explore ways to conserve energy at the school and develop a proposal to share with the local school board.
                              • Students will observe an historical salmon habitat, collect data, develop a plan to improve the condition of the ecosystem, implement the plan, create a brochure and advertising campaign to promote habitat restoration activities.


                              Other units involve how students will understand charts, graphs, data, applying probes to robotics, sound properties, properties of matter, and using probes to match mathematical formulas.


                              Each teacher is asked to include the use of at least one probe in their technology used for their Unit Plan. We have reinforced the difference between an activity (which is what a probe is often used for) and a project (that may involve the use of probes over multiple activities.) Like all Essential Groups, some teachers struggle creating Projects or writing Essential Questions. They, however, are SO excited about creating a unit plan that incorporates technology to help students understand Standards. I've seen a couple of project ideas change as teachers consider how they can have students "engineer" their final project. I look forward to the sharing of more information as we continue this fun week.

                            • Re: Extreme Makeover: STEM Edition -Day 2

                              The activity pictured above (testing a paper column in the largen wooden press) was a terrific activity to watch and see "hands-on" learning meeting up with technology.  Teams collobrated to create the columns and then tested them to find a winning design.


                              The "tests" were recorded and displayed using a webcam and projected on the screen for the teams to watch.  The video was synced with the Vernier software so that we could see the exact point the columns collapsed under pressure in recorded view and also displayed in the graph that was generated during the test.


                              When I think back to my old science teaching days, this was like a dream.......but it is real! (and right here at Oregon STEM)

                            • Re: Essentials Training with a STEM Focus

                              The Intel Teach / Vernier STEM teachers took a break from their hard work last night. During our break, we had a fun time together talking and enjoying a wonderful dinner. The video was created by uploading pictures into the education version of Animoto. Make sure you check out dessert!