I recently volunteered to write a BLOG post for the San Diego CUE organization. I focused on some easy ways to create virtual reality content in the classroom. Check out my BLOG post HERE.
On May 24th, the Classroom of the Future Foundation held their annual Innovation in Education event, where teachers, schools, and districts from around San Diego were honored. The event was hosted at Sea World, with incredible food and drinks, raffle prizes, student displays, and a fabulous award ceremony. It was really exciting to hear about all of the innovative programs happening in and around San Diego county and to network with other like-minded educators.
I was extremely honored to be chosen by SDCUE as the (1st ever) Innovative TOSA, and received my award at this event.
May 19th was the 2nd Annual STEMfest at Stuart Mesa elementary. This event provided an opportunity for 6th - 8th grade students to share and present their learning with family and community members. The STEM-focused projects ranged from Virtual Reality to Scratch coding to Aeronautics. Students displayed their STEM notebooks, model or prototype, and a tri-fold board with information about their project and their process. As visitors approached the tri-fold board, students were expected to share their work for approximately 2-3 minutes, answering questions and demonstrating their prototype. The event was overall a celebration of the students' hard work and learning this school year.
Special thanks to community members at the event, including representatives from Oceanside Unified School District, the Marine Corps General of the Camp Pendleton base, and Assembly member Rocky Chavez. You helped to provide an authentic audience for our students to present their learning, and we are grateful for your attendance.
Today was Science Discovery Day at our school, which is an annual event, organized by an amazing third grade teacher at our site. Students in grades 1-5 get to attend 3 hands-on science sessions and are in small mixed grade level groups. In the STEM Lab I had the 3-5th grade students create squishy circuits, for their Science rotation with me. If you have never heard of Squishy Circuits, you are missing out!!
Students used conductive dough, battery packs, and LEDs to create series and parallel circuits in the STEM Lab. I did a mini lesson (10-15 minutes) describing a circuit and the flow of electricity. I modeled how to create basic circuit, discussed safety procedures, then let them loose!
If you would like to hear more about how I use Squishy Circuits in the STEM Lab, leave me a comment below. You can also check out the Squishy Circuit website.
Last year (2016) was the first annual STEMfest for Stuart Mesa elementary students. The event was an opportunity for Middle School students to share their learning from the STEM Lab with parents, classmates, and the community. It was the first time that I had ever organized a student showcase, and although it was highly successful, I have some ideas for improving this year's event.
Today in STEM Lab, students began to think about and research their projects for this year's STEMfest. There was a lot of excitement and brainstorming happening, and I'm really excited to see the projects that the kids are planning. I gave students a link to sciencebuddies.org to help them brainstorm and check out possible project ideas.
The students do the bulk of the work for the STEMfest. However, as the organizer of the event, I have my fair-share of work too! Some changes that I will be making to the event this year include:
Friday, May 19th from 5:30 - 7:30 pm
For the past few weeks, the 4th and 5th grade classes at Stuart Mesa have been building roller coasters in the STEM Lab, using mini K'Nex kits. I was able to purchase the kits for the STEM Lab with a grant from Genentech and the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce. Building the roller coasters has been a fantastic experience for the students so far! There have been moments of frustration, perseverance, and celebration amongst the students. Some students even discovered a building talent which they didn't know they had!
The science concepts that we've been focusing on with this unit are some basic physics topics - kinetic and potential energy, gravity, inertia, friction, etc. We have also focused on math concepts, such as finding the mean speed of your roller coaster, measuring the track length, and the height.
The Ozobots have been a big hit at Stuart Mesa this year! I have used them quite a bit with grades K-2 to teach coding, problem solving skills, and the 4Cs (communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking).
Mrs. Engel's 1st grade class has really taken off with the Ozobots!! I have been working with them about 1-2 times a week to practice coding with the Ozobots. One student in Mrs. Engel's class discovered that there is currently an Ozobot contest where you have to send Ozobot on Vacation!! Mrs. Engel's class decided that they would like to send Ozobot on vacation to Legoland. Using a map and images of Legoland, the first grade students worked so hard to recreate Legoland, then created a pathway "code" for Ozobot to move throughout the theme park. We (the teachers) created a short video of the Ozobots moving through the 1st grade Legoland, and will be submitting our video to the Ozobot on Vacation contest.
Check out the video below!!
Yesterday was Science Discovery Day at Stuart Mesa Elementary. Students in grades K-5 rotated through various science activities throughout the day. In the SmartLab, I challenged my groups of 3-5th graders to create art wiggle bots. Students were given specific materials, shown several online examples, then let loose to create with their partner. Communication and collaboration were an important part of the engineering process. Many students discovered that their bots did not work at first. They had to troubleshoot, problem-solve, and modify their bots until they had success. Check out the video below to see one of the art wiggle bots in action!
On May 26th, Stuart Mesa will host our first annual STEMfest. This event will be an opportunity for the Middle School students at Stuart Mesa to share the work they have been doing in the SmartLab. The ideas that the students have been coming up with are phenomenal! Projects range from video game design to solar powered vehicles to creating a new type of soap!
The STEMfest will be open during the day, for other students and teachers to walk through, and from 4:00 - 5:30 for parents and families to visit. Please come by for a visit. We hope to have a good turn out to support the work of our middle school students!!
I would like to add a new couple of new robots to the SmartLab at Stuart Mesa, and I need your help! Meet the Ozobot!! This little robot is en excellent introduction to coding and robotics for younger learners, but can also be used by students in upper grades. Students (K-2) can use markers and stickers to write a physical code for Ozobot to follow, or (3-8) create code on a computer or iPad to control Ozobot.
I have created a project on Donors Choose for 6 Ozobots. If students work with a partner, that means that I can have 12 students working and learning with Ozobots at a time. Since I work with multiple grade levels at Stuart Mesa, that means that potentially every student on campus could have an opportunity to write code and learn about robotics from the Ozobots. If you would like to donate to my Donors Choose project, HERE is the link. If you donate before March 10, 2016 and use the code word EMPOWER, your donation will be matched by Donors Choose. So basically a $10 donation will become a $20 donation.
If you would like to learn more about the Ozobots, HERE is a link to the company website.