Building new STEM program

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by jw12, Dec 7, 2014.

  1. jw12

    jw12 Rookie

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    Dec 7, 2014

    I'm a 3rd year HS science teacher who has been placed onto a team that has been charged with the duty of creating a brand-new STEM course of study at our building.

    We've been at work for several months, and the overall design of the new program looks pretty good. However, I'm a little concerned about how this is going to look in action. Beginning next year, I will be team teaching with a math teacher (whom I get along with well) in a block course that will combine honors-level physical science and honors-level algebra 2 for a class of 25-30 9th graders. This block course is to have a STEM focus and be inquiry-based, all while achieving the normal state-expected benchmarks.

    Here's my question - Does anyone know of any resources out there that might help? Curriculum materials, textbooks, Internet resources... anything would help.

    I've never taught in this style before (I'm usually a take-notes-and-then-a-test type of teacher), so this change is both exciting and daunting.

    PS - We're 1:1 iPad at my school, and students in this program will be 1:1 MacBook Air.

    Thanks in advance for any help!
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 7, 2014

    Rummage around Richard Byrne's blog Free Technology for Teachers, www.freetech4teachers.com: he's got lots of goodies in STEM. For the math teacher, the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives might be very handy.

    This sounds really exciting. I'm cheerfully jealous of your students.
     
  4. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    Dec 8, 2014

    I work at a STEM school… but teach a reject subject, history lol. We pretty much build all of our curriculum ourselves. A lot of the classes that we teach are not courses that other schools have… so there are not really materials out there for it. This takes time but also gives you freedom to make the class look how you want it to. My first year I found this so hard because it was just so time consuming.
     
  5. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Dec 8, 2014

    OP was kind enough to send me a copy of the standards. It's definitely safe to say I'm in LOVE with this idea. I did a bit of searching and found the following (text)books:

    http://www.hmhco.com/shop/k12/Scien...O1ATszxXoHel6AUsuCzgqXor61Ll5cJLGEaAjfo8P8HAQ

    Labs that integrate math with bio, chem, and physics (9-12).

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/listi...LA-_-Book_25To44-_-Q000000633-_-2688381753098

    Project-based learning guide that focuses on math's applications to science.

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/listi...2PLA-_-Book_45Up-_-Q000000633-_-2691909424592

    This looks like it's a guide for teachers to embark on a journey like yours.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/381032421923?lpid=82

    Another similar to the one above.

    https://www.perma-bound.com/stem.faces

    Lots of titles here. Scroll down to "High School STEM".
     
  6. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Dec 8, 2014

    OP was kind enough to send me a copy of the standards. It's definitely safe to say I'm in LOVE with this idea. I did a bit of searching and found the following (text)books:

    http://www.hmhco.com/shop/k12/Scien...O1ATszxXoHel6AUsuCzgqXor61Ll5cJLGEaAjfo8P8HAQ

    Labs that integrate math with bio, chem, and physics (9-12).

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/listi...LA-_-Book_25To44-_-Q000000633-_-2688381753098

    Project-based learning guide that focuses on math's applications to science.

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/listi...2PLA-_-Book_45Up-_-Q000000633-_-2691909424592

    This looks like it's a guide for teachers to embark on a journey like yours.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/381032421923?lpid=82

    Another similar to the one above.

    https://www.perma-bound.com/stem.faces

    Lots of titles here. Scroll down to "High School STEM".
     
  7. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Dec 8, 2014

    You have an AMAZING resource in Ohio called The Past Foundation. They are STEM experts who helped found The Metro School in Columbus. I worked with them this summer and will probably be one of their guest bloggers once I am finished my M.Ed. program. I strongly recommend you contact them.
     
  8. hubbopolis

    hubbopolis Rookie

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    Dec 9, 2014

    Our district (also in Ohio) just started STEM this year. I'm a parent, so I'm watching it from the outside, but I would say that the teachers involved with the STEM curriculum are getting a lot of OTJ about what does and doesn't work. My oldest is in a physics/engineering class structured similarly to your math/science. Two teachers in the classroom switch hitting topics and trying to blend them as best they can.

    From my perspective the class has great promise, but there is some difficulty achieving the right balance between the two topics. The biggest problem is engineering projects taking up too much time for design and construction, so the physics is lagging a bit. That said, it's a very concrete way to learn the topic and, once dialed in, is going to be incredibly effective.

    On the other hand, my youngest (7th grade) did a STEM class on 3D printing and it was nearly a complete failure. It seemed like it was being invented on the fly (didn't even have a printer until the fourth week) and they spent weeks manually doing isometric drawings rather than focusing on the contemporary tools they have in front of them. I only say this to reinforce the notion that preparation is incredibly important, and if there are risk factors (like lab space, equipment, etc) they need to be factored in so the kids still have a good educational experience.

    My recommendation would be to develop the curriculum you want, but then run it past teachers from nearby districts that are doing STEM this year. They will be able to tell you what did and didn't work for them so you can adjust (or not) accordingly. That said, there are going to be some amazing opportunities for playing these two topics off of each other. I might suggest investigating Vernier's LabQuest 2 system. It's a physical measurement system that includes a variety of sensors and a handheld data acquisition and integration device. It's designed for the classroom and will give you a lot of capability to do demonstration labs that will provide source data for curve fitting, solving systems of equations, logic, vectors, etc.

    This is awesome!!! Thank you!
     
  9. jw12

    jw12 Rookie

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    Dec 9, 2014

    Ha! I should have been more clear... we are working with closely with PAST and are attempting to model our program after Metro. They've been great, but our teachers still need some nuts-and-bolts ideas for setting the curriculum.
     
  10. jw12

    jw12 Rookie

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    Dec 9, 2014

    Thanks to all for the great links, ideas, and resources. I'll be sure to pass them on to the rest of our team. This is an exciting time for us, and we'll be pitching the new program to potential students and parents very soon. I hope that they're as excited as we are!!
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Dec 9, 2014

    HAH! That totally figures! Tell Lori her Shadowbox teacher friend will start blogging once Winter Break starts. Also, feel free to contact me directly if you want any online educational insight.
     

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