Interest-Based Electives: Engaging Students With STEAM Explorations (Transcript)
Student: It's like, way more rougher.
Roshelle: How many of you noticed that the club soda started to get bubbles around it and fizz? Why do you think that's happening?
Student: In most sodas, around the glass, like bubbles appear and I think the same effect happened with the candy.
Roshelle: The benefits of having explorations class is keeping the kids engaged, getting them to ask those questions. It just really gets the kids excited and motivated to learn more.
Katie: Explorations, the idea behind it is creating classes of choice for children, so that they can sign up for an interest that they may have. And then it also provides the teachers with an incentive to be able to teach something that they're very passionate about.
Vicky: Each teacher picks a topic that they're interested in that fits in our STEAM theme, the science, technology, engineering, the arts, or mathematics, and they come up with eight lessons that go along with it. And then the kids get to choose which topic, and you have mixed grade levels.
So is the wheel going to go on here?
Vicky: So we're going to put the wheels on which direction, this way or this way?
Student: I think this way is going to be better.
Vicky: Right now, I have toyology, which is fourth and fifth graders, and we are going to analyze how toys are built, what the components are in them, and then they will apply that information and knowledge to make their own toys?
Georgette: A blueprint is like a sketch of your model. It's what, you want to make a model, you blueprint it, and you would have what it looks like, what it's made out of. Anyone who really builds anything would use it because it scales what they were going to build.
Katie: We make sure that our kids have a lot of opportunities to be very curious, to observe, to wonder, to have a hypothesis, to find something out, to re-engineer something and think about the world around them, how can they contribute?
Georgette: We're having fun, but also learning.
Student: It didn't really do nothing, it just really stayed.
Roshelle: The exploration class I'm teaching is called candy chemistry. The kids come in and we get to-- like yesterday we did the Mentos and Diet Coke challenge. So they get to really do a lot of science observing.
Student: If it has bubbles, it might like affect the thing you're putting in.
Alexa: You learn about how candy works with different drinks and how it dissolves, and why it dissolves. Science is everywhere. It's in trees, grass, dirt, the whole earth and the sky, so science is everywhere.
Klaus: I started a drone explo, the idea of opening their eyes to the possibility of, like drones can really help you do a lot of things.
Set it down, okay.
You have a brain break. The idea of them moving to a different teacher, it's really, really beneficial.
So, Elizabeth, what drone did you develop?
Elizabeth: I put on cameras on each side, so that like, they could get it from all angles. And I also put like a camera in the middle.
Klaus: If I say, "Okay, we're going to spend twenty minutes doing math and then we're going to just do twenty minutes of drones," but I'm still going to teach math. So what that does is it opens up the diversity of curriculum, so we get to develop something that starts off from the ground.
You guys ready to fly a drone?
Katie: When the kids come in and they're able to choose what they're going to learn about, they're much more engaged. They're much more likely to go and read some more nonfiction articles based on the topic that they were studying. It's all about engaging students and getting them excited about learning.