Tag Archives: STEM

Photos from a magical #MakerDay at @mouse_org! #STEAM #STEM #MakerEd #KidsCanCode

Mouse is an which organization strives to “empower all students to create with technology to solve real problems and make meaningful change in our world. Additionally, they are “committed to creating more diversity in STEM and opening opportunities for students from underserved communities across the country.” (via their website)

I was lucky enough to attend Maker Day on November 19th — these Maker Days happen twice a year and are a family-friendly celebration of creativity, problem solving, problem finding, prototyping, and making open to middle and high school students.

Maker Day gives you twice the time as our regular Maker Night to spend creating alongside professionals. More time so you can dig deep into coding, 3D design, or crafting something to take home. It’s a great experience to get your hands dirty with technology for an afternoon and get creative. A perfect day trip for a tech club, Maker Day will feature activities from content on create.mouse.org and more.

At the event, there were many different stations of activities peppered around their space. Upon entering, one could assemble and decorate a Google Cardboard VR headset.img_0635

Another station encouraged attendees to construct a DIY Operation game out of cardboard, tin foil, LED light, wire, and a coin cell battery.

I spend a lot of time at an activity chatting with Deren Gruler of Teknikio. She and some volunteers helped attendees create a light-up superhero cuff that could test for conductivity — if you close the circuit with an object and the LED lights up, then the objective is conductive!

There were additional stations set up to explore wind power, coding, MakeyMakey video games, Arduino circuits, breadboarding, and more.

I also spent some time reading the inspiring words and Mouse mission statements printed on the walls…

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Brilliant and simple way to document class observations via @DearMsHashim. #ETSA16 #edchat

As part of EdTechSummit Africa 2016, I traveled around South Africa, Swaziland, and Ghana helping run 10 summits in 30 days for hundreds of teachers. My particular 90-minute workshop was on using Google Sites to build a professional portfolio. There were 11 other volunteer educators on the tour, and I had a chance to attend their classes, assist as needed, and learn from each of them. I particularly enjoyed observing participants respond to Anusheh Hashim‘s session, Brains, Bridges and Blunders: A Hands-on Workshop Connecting STEM and Inquiry (description pasted below):

While working with hands and materials in efforts to solve a problem or respond to a challenge, questions arise as a child’s curiosity beckons. As a desire to discover transforms into a need to understand, the teacher – a guide rather than a lecturer – helps children access resources to channel their wonder. Mistakes are made and persistence is developed. The class is immersed in an authentic learning experience and an academic culture in which learning is truly student driven. Participants in the workshop will spend time engineering an open-ended project with a group using few materials and receiving limited instruction. Afterwards, we will debrief and discuss how students’ work towards a goal drives their learning, how this work can connect to specific learning standards and applications of technology, and how working with a group benefits students’ social development.

So many of the teachers in Anusheh’s workshop were initially shocked and confused at her short directions to build a bridge with straws, paper clips, and three partners. They expected a long list of instructions which she simply didn’t provide. Traditionally, we are trained to follow recipes, and, without detailed steps, there is a chance we can do something wrong. I loved watching teachers learn to let go, create, prototype, and embrace the inquiry-based approach Anusheh introduced. Further, teachers later talked about how they could integrate inquiry into their own classrooms and lessons.

Anusheh opened my eyes to a deceptively simple classroom observation/documentation strategy. As groups began to engage in their activity to “build a bridge” with no other guiding principles, she’d walk amongst the tables, pausing to answer questions and amplify great ideas. She’d also make significant trips to the front of the room where she had two columns ready: I see and I hear. How easy and sensible! By transcribing key words and notable phrases at the front, Anusheh simultaneously demonstrated she was attuned to their work and aware of their progress without directly guiding them. I was telling a former colleague, Mary Jo Allegra (@sunporchstudio), about Anusheh’s I see/I hear technique, and Mary Jo was immediately inspired to do something similar and daily in her own art classroom this year. It occurred to me that Mary Jo could also assign a different student to be in charge of I see/I hear for each class. I think kids would love to have the opportunity to record I see/I hear statements as a rotating class “duty”…

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Thanks, @techlearning! Sneak Peak with @EmilySticco of our #ISTE2016 poster session “Bits of Music”!

Kevin Hogan, Content Director of Tech & Learning, invited me and @EmilySticco to offer a Sneak Peek of our ISTE 2016 poster session Bits of Music, Lots of STEAM. We’ll be sharing two projects that Emily and I led in her 8th grade music mini-course at The School at Columbia University:
1. Cardboard MakeyMakey Jam band
2. Arduino light-up album covers

You can watch our video below. Don’t forget to marvel at the comically bad screen capture. I look like I’m eating a hamburger.

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