STEM education provides many opportunities and challenges. How can our practice evolve to meet the needs of 21st-century learners?

STEM Middle School

Lynne Bensted

What would a successful stem magnet school, at middle school, look like?
Science,math linked to engineering?

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STEM Math Class

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As a middle school math teacher, I would like to incorporate STEM activities as part of my curriculum and instruction. Is there a good resource that I can use to get started? Most resources I've seen focus more on the science and less on the math component. Where can I find STEM activities/projects that targets the grade level math that I teach?

STEM Academy

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I was wondering about two things. First, would you explain the structure, including cohort grouping, scheduling, etc. of the STEM Academy. Second, are you a Technology Education certified teacher?

Thank you for your response.

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Lynne,

Salisbury Middle School in Salisbury Maryland initiated a STEM academy this year in grades 6-7-8. This program that I have had the pleasure of being the lead teacher of came out of a need for making science more relevant in our students lives and possibly their futures. What we have developed, and believe me it is still a work in progress and will be for quite sometime is a academy that revolves around the science curriculum. We currently have 30 students from each grade level enrolled in the program. Students are not all "magnet students", our school board would not allow us to create an "elitist" program. We have students that are at or above grade level in their reading and mathematics skills these scores are based on various standardized and quarterly tests). The population of our academy reflects the demographics of our school and the classes are basically split 50/50 boy-girl. We have taken a somewhat different approach to the STEM idea. Due to scheduling issues and board reservations we do not have a dedicated STEM math class. STEM students all have math at the same time but in their respected levels. Also in our program we have incorporated history classes (which have all the STEM students are in the same grade level classes) as well as our RELA (reading,English, language arts)classes. Tech ed and computers are also in the schedule. Since the science curriculum drives this program, we have worked on bridging the topic across all classes. For example in 7th grade we studied bacteria and viruses, in my classes we cultured bacteria samples from around the school and and compared and identified what was found. Students developed the experimental lab procedures by researching how microbiologists conduct their research and created their own procedures and followed through the experiment. In History class, students discussed the effects of plagues and pandemics on populations and civilizations from around the world and through time. In our RELA classes students read the novel Fever 1793 and related the story to what was being done in their other classes. In the Tech ed classes students looked at city maps and planned how to evacuate and quarantine the city based on the rate various factors. Students worked with models of cityscapes and GPS maps to come to their conclusions. In computer class students took raw data from various pandemics and charted, graphed and predicted outcomes and possible outcome based on various factors. This looks a lot like thematic learning, and for the most part it is, but the emphasis is on the science and the other STEM components that makes this unique. The other major part of our program is the career component. We make sure that whatever unit we are discovering, we include people who have careers in STEM fields that are relevant to the area of study. We believe that it is important for our students to get to talk to "real people" who have careers in STEM related fields. There is so much more I can tell you about this program which is receiving great praise from our students, parents and community. If you are interested in discussing this further, you can reach me at Salisbury Middle school 410-677-5149begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            410-677-5149      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Hope this helped?

Chad

Quote: What would a

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What would a successful stem magnet school, at middle school, look like?

Science,math linked to engineering?

I teach 8th grade at a STEM magnet school. We have kids from all over the district so we match our district's percentages (40% second language learners, approx 55% free and reduced lunch, etc.) We have an 8 period day (other schools have 7) and provide a double period of math and and a double period of science every day (87 minutes) in 6th, 7th and 8th. We incorporate technology and engineering in science as well host an engineering club in which almost 25% of our kids participate with help from volunteers from local industries. With the extra time in math class, all of our kids take accelerated math. In 7th grade, the top 30% take Alg 1 (normally an 8th or 9th grade class). In 8th grade ALL students take algebra 1 and our top students take either geometry or geo-trig. Our geo-trig kids enter high school taking classes with juniors and seniors. We have even had a few kids go beyond geo-trig in 8th grade by taking Alg 2 and/or trig online. Our test scores in math, science and even LA are the highest in the district, even though there are higher socio-economic schools in the district. We do a lot of project based learning and a lot of cross-curricular teaming.

I've been working to get the

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I've been working to get the backing of our building to enhance our curriculum with more STEM connections. The idea of a STEM cohort within the larger school population is a good pilot model for us to consider and it gives us a springboard to expand into a wider STEM focus in a few years. Can you share a bit more about the planning timeline and major considerations you dealt with? What issues came up with the staff? I'm already brainstorming with my principal and the community foundation. Thanks for the interesting idea.

STEM Independent Study with LEGO Robotics

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I am in the planning stages for a project-based STEM Independent Study with LEGO robotics. Is anyone here using LEGOs, and if so, what things are popular with your learners?

Assistant Principal STEM Coordinator

What is a STEM Middle School?

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It is great to find this discussion! The leading question is, "How will we know we're successful as STEM Middle Schools?" I think there are several ways. A couple would be that our students have a positive attitude about science, technology, engineering and math and go on to pursue STEM courses in high school and beyond. A metric we use is to count the (growing) number of our students choosing STEM classes and activities. When we started four years ago we had 25 students in MathCounts. This year we will exceed 1000 STEM 'touches' in MathCounts, FLL, Colorado Science and Engineering Fair, Science Olympiad, our STEM Summer Institute, exploratory classes, and more. This metric is easy to track and is an indirect measure of attitude. What do others do?
We at Preston Middle School in Fort Collins, Colordo, a STEM Middle School, are working on a STEM Middle School Model. Right now it is looing like a school with these five facets: 1) A rigorous and engaging curriculum, 2) exploratory classes in STEM, 3) real-world research/projects, 4)challenging extra-curricular STEM activities, and 5) STEM mentors.
What are others thinking?

MS Science Teacher in Atlantic City, NJ

Middle School STEM based curriculum guides...

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Are there any sample/model curriculum guides out there to show as examples of what it could/should look like?

curriculum and projects learning centers

Middle School STEAM (STEM +Arts)

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Dear James McGinn,

I am a retired classroom teacher but still an active teacher/learner/creator, so I can share my new wikispace curriculm adventure in HS Geometry/STEM/STEAM as a creative open-ended resource for you to use any way that you wish...
http://edutopia.wikispaces.com/
and at: https://hsgeometryadventure.wikispaces.com

It is very Arts & Crafts oriented and has a full range of skill-levels from elementary to university, so Middle Schoolers can jump in with your guidance and particular enthusiasms...
I will highlight the "Engineering of Everyday Things" curriculum unit with the Google Patent Search tool...this can become an all-year PBL Foundational Principle Building Block.
Also I will mention one little Enormous book:
"The Greatest Inventions of the Past 2,000 Years" Edited by John Brockman
(available inexpensively at amazon.com)
And lastly the Power of Google IMAGES Search tool...

I would be happy to keep our dialogue on-going here at Edutopia, and share more specifics as time permits...

Kepler's Apprentice-in-Training :-)
Allen Berg

Physical Science Teacher Grades 6 and6-8 and department advisor

Outdoor Classroom-

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Kirk- This is our second year with an Outdoor Classroom at our 6-8 Middle School. It is an incredible STEM resource. After getting approval from the conservation Comission, we obtained a small grant and partnered with an Eagle Scout troop to develop it. We have seating for 50 students and a demonstration table, 1/2 mi trail, and a bridge leading to wetlans and a vernal pool. I agree,the experiential learning offered through an outdoor classroom helps us to differentiate instruction and meet the needs of all learners.

Principal Red Bank Middle School , Chattanooga Tn.

We are currently researching

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We are currently researching and developing a STEM school. Any suggestions on good websites that could get us started?

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