Tag Archives: AhHa!

Today In STEM

DESIGN PROCESS was the theme today. We discussed scienfic inquiry and the steps to the scientific method as a way to connect to the process of design. Kids made up their “dream” inventions. It was hilarious. We had homework machines, cell lasers, Final Four Aps, and some very serious ideas like a cure for cancer. The students read about the design process and explained what they would brainstorm, research, test, and ways they would develop ideas. Most kids worked individually but others worked in groups of two and four. They wrote out their design profile and shared. There was laughter all around.

I especially like the creative energy. Kids were sharing, laughing, and suggesting funny ways to improve ideas. It was fun to be creative.

Teaching a process of design is what my colleague called her “Ah Ha!” moment for understanding engineering. The science teachers are familar with the process because it was part of the ’97 Illinois Science Standards, called Technological Design. There are many ways to teach the process and the vocabulary is different but the ideas are the same.

I always say to districts just starting STEM, just design ANYTHING! Some have said that teaching a specific process of steps is too constricting and I agree completely, but my experience tells me 8th graders need the structure of a predictable method of design. In my district we use Project Lead the Way materials and the Engineering is Elementary materials to teach about design. Although we have been integrated STEM into lessons for only two years, we have some promising data about math growth.

Happy Designing!

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