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Innovations Focusing on STEM/STEAM
 
This year’s round of CFI Grant Awards was designed to develop curriculum, instructional strategies, and authentic assessments in the areas listed below, under the umbrella of STEM/STEAM.

Curriculum Development in STEM/STEAM
  • Pre-Engineering
Pre-engineering involves applying engineering, science, math, and technology to solve complex, open-ended problems in a real-world context. Students focus on the process of defining and solving a problem, not on getting the "right" answer. They learn how to apply STEM knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to make the world a better place through innovation.
  • Entrepreneurship
We would like to help students understand the strategies and ideas that allow them to take an idea, create a product, and market it to others. We wanted to fund grants in this category to develop a fully articulated course sequence that includes specific resources to implement the courses.
  • Coding
Coding can be used to solve real-world problems while developing students’ logical and computational thinking. We were looking to fund projects in this category that will lead to a sequence: learning to code and then applying coding principles to create a project or application.  Students at all levels should have an understanding of applied coding principles and how applying these principles may be used:  writing apps for phones, curing diseases, creating animated movies, working on social media, building robots that explore other planets and so much more.

Instructional Strategies in STEM/STEAM
  • Design Thinking
We were looking to fund projects that incorporate the design thinking model into course work: 
Design Thinking Principles: Empathize, Brainstorm/ideate, Prototype, Test, Evaluate,
  • Making
The Maker Movement stresses new and unique applications of technologies, and encourages invention and prototyping with a strong focus on using and learning practical skills and applying them creatively. Activities may involve electronics, robotics, 3D printing, and the use of digital as well as traditional tools. We were looking to fund projects that incorporate into our curriculum explicit instruction in hands-on “making.”
  • Authentic Assessments in STEM/STEAM
Authentic assessments ask students to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills. These tasks often involve engaging with worthy problems or questions of importance, in which students apply knowledge and skill to perform effectively and creatively. We were looking to fund projects that develop authentic assessments for learning in STEM/STEAM.
 
Here is a list of funded projects for the 2014-15 school year:
 
A Music Maker Museum at the Middle School: Creation and Installation
  • Jessica Slotwinski - SMS Music Department Chair & teacher - grades 6 and 7
  • Jeff Tuttle - SMS Technology Education teacher
  • Michael Pincus - SMS Computer Technology teacher
  • Steve Rambone - SMS Technology Education teacher
The focus of this project is to develop a Music Maker Museum, a STEAM ecosystem where sixth grade Exploring Music students will design, create, and display electronic instruments or “programmable” artwork.

 
Making it Visible: Documenting and Assessing Student Work in Authentic Environments using Digital Media

  • Duncan Wilson, Principal
  • Dave Scholl, Elementary Special Education teacher
  • Cristal Edwards, Elementary Classroom teacher
  • Kristen Martin, Middle School Science teacher
  • James Williams, High School Chemistry teacher
This project team will research and implement ways to assess student  learning during activities that occur in new learning spaces.  Working with existing projects (challenge projects, maker projects, authentic assessments, non-standard problems, lab experiments etc.) the team will develop a protocol to record student work, allowing students to demonstrate the dispositions of effective problem-solving

 
The NEST (New Educational Studio for Technology) at the Middle School
  • Doug Rose          Head Computer teacher
  • Meghan Lahey     7th grade social studies teacher
  • Marci Rothman     7th grade social studies teacher
  • Denise Cassano   7th grade art teacher
This project will redesign the current computer lab spaces in Popham and Fountain house to create the NEST: New Educational Studio for Technology.  Each NEST room will incorporate elements of learning studios and maker spaces. They will support essential learning modalities, including project-based learning, student presentation, collaboration, independent study, play-based learning, and mobile technology use.

 
A Connected K-12 Curriculum for Designing and Making
  • Christine Boyer,5th grade teacher, Heathcote
  • Peter McKenna, computer teachers, Fox Meadow
  • Cara Forray, Health teacher, Middle School
  • Mike Egan, Physics teacher, High School
  • Lisa Yokana, Art and Architecture teacher, High School
Evidence of the Maker movement can be found in pockets across the district, and  there is great interest in providing design opportunities to all students.  The goal of this project is to research best practices in  maker/design curricula, creating a horizontal and vertical network of  teachers who will integrate Maker projects into the overall K-12 curriculum.
 
 
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