Tuesday, May 21, 2013

St. Louis STEM Reader

I attended the NSTA STEM Conference in St. Louis last week with several colleagues. It was a very worthwhile trip.

Top Quotes
“Engineering naturally integrates mathematics, science, social studies and language literacy.” - Tamara Moore

“Tell kids they are doing engineering. Use that word. Students, especially girls, tend to go to medical school or major in science in college if they enjoy STEM. Very few choose engineering because they don't know what that means.” - Liz Parry

“If you are not iterating, it is not engineering.” - Ann McMahon

“Is it really STEM or is it just John Dewey?” - Tara Bell

Top Takeaways
1. High-quality STEM education is more about the how than the what. We can’t teach students everything they will need to know. We can help them learn how to learn.

2. The habits of mind related to engineering can be a thread running through all content areas. Empathy, collaboration, failure, iteration, perseverance, social justice, activism, leadership.

3. STEM has the potential to make a real difference for equity and diversity. It has been shown to be an effective way to engage struggling or at risk students. Currently, success in STEM subjects in school and in careers is very skewed toward certain demographic groups, and something needs to be done to change that.

Favorite Presenters

Bob Goodman (New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning: Ridgewood, NJ) Demystifying Science with the Progressive Science Initiative (PSI) Equity requires that all high school students learn physics, chemistry, and biology. PSI is a free open-source program that is helping schools achieve that goal.

Liz Parry, Coordinator, STEM Partnership Development, The Engineering Place, College of Engineering, NC State University

Ann P. McMahon Ex-Aerospace engineer. Strategies for integrating STEM with social and emotional learning. Ann recently gave a TEDx talked titled Engineering Empathy (use password tedxgladstone).

Beth Bender, Principal of Gateway STEM High School, St. Louis. A public magnet school, 85% FRL, 55% African american, increasing ELL. There is a lack of awareness about engineering, and it is mostly male. Engineering students give demonstrations for other students during lunch; recruiting for the high school is done with hands-on tasks, live puppies.

Tamara Moore, University of Minnesota. STEM Education Center. Said she would soon be running a pilot program of K-6 STEM integrated units that include a heavy children’s literature component.


Family Engineering (book and website recommended by Liz Parry)
National Center for Universal Design on Learning