STEM education

"integrative STEM education" and Dr. Mark Sanders of Virginia Tech

Mark_sanders
Dr. Mark Sanders, Professor Emeritus, Integrative STEM Education, Virginia Tech is a pioneer in integrative STEM (iSTEM) education. His iSTEM education research began with the Technology/ Science/Mathematics Integration Project funded by NSF (1991-1996). In 2003, he envisioned the unique Integrative STEM Education graduate program, which he and colleague John Wells established in 2005 at Virginia Tech. VT's iSTEM Ed Graduate Program (which offers both F2F and online courses) enrolls about 50 S, T, E, M, and elementary teachers / administrators, about half of whom are doctoral candidates.

There are many definitions of "STEM education" but only one for "Integrative STEM Education," which was developed and implemented by Sanders & Wells at Virginia Tech (2006-2010): 

"Integrative STEM education refers to technological/engineering design-based learning approaches that intentionally integrate the concepts and practices of science and/or mathematics education with the concepts practices of technology and engineering education. Integrative STEM education may be enhanced through further integration with other school subjects, such as language arts, social studies, art, etc."  (Sanders & Wells, 2006-2010).

In Sanders' words,  "Integrative STEM education intentionally situates S, T, E, & M teaching & learning in the context of technological/engineering design activity. In contrast, most educators and politicians have (inappropriately) been using "STEM Education" when referring primarily (or solely) to math and science instruction, a practice that marginalizes the T&E components of integrative STEM education... to the detriment of STEM teaching and learning.

The following papers elaborating on Integrative STEM education are “must reads”:

Download Sanders.TERC Paper

Download Sanders.ISTEM.Ed.TTT.ISTEM.Ed.+Def


STEM Project Ideas & Events (not curriculum)

Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) developed by Purdue University. Get your students working in your community solving REAL engineering design challenges.

MAKE Magazine  is the magazine for the "Maker Community". Published quarterly, it is filled with ideas and inspiration. 

Maker Education Initiative The mission of the Maker Education Initiative is to create more opportunities for young people to make, and, by making, build confidence, foster creativity, and spark interest in science, technology, engineering, math, the arts—and learning as a whole.

HowToSmile.org  Database of 3,560 Science & Math activities. SMILE is collecting the best educational materials on the web and creating learning activities, tools, and services – all designed especially for those who teach school-aged kids in non-classroom settings.


STEM Curriculum Sources

Sources for STEM Curriculum

Engineerring By Design is a K-12 curriculum developed by the International Technology & Engineering Education Association (ITEEA)

Project Lead The Way (PLTW)

Engineering the Future is a high school curriculum from the Boston Museum of Science.

Design Squad Nation by PBS offers lots of free resources for teachers including activities and training.

 

As I come across more STEM curriculum models I'll add them to this page.


"Adventures of a Geek Dad" -- my IGNITE Asheville 2013 talk

On February 19, 2013  I spoke at IGNITE Asheville

My talk was entitled "Adventures of a Geek Dad" and I won 1st place! The crazy thing is, I tried to back out of this event a couple of times. I honestly didn't think many people would be interested in what I had to say.

Although I've given many talks, this one was among the most difficult to prepare for and deliver. 

The difficulty stemmed from the format:  5 minutes long and slides auto advance every 20 seconds. 5 minutes is such a short amount of time. Every word counts. You'll see in the video that I got behind / out of sync with my slides - - so easy to do.

Assembling my slides took way longer then expected because I realized I had too much to say in 5 minutes and that meant I had too many slides. I had to eliminate, pair down, refine, etc. Not easy for a guy that likes to talk a lot.

The event organizers (all great people) provided a speaking coach and she was AWESOME. Her name is Angie Flynn-McIver of Executive Repertory. Angie met with me one-on-one and listened to my talk and asked me to make a couple of simple yet important changes. 

Here are a few resources that helped a lot:

Scott Berkun -- Why And How To Give An IGNITE Talk

Scott Berkun's blog post on the same subject

IGNITE's tips for beginners

Jason Grigsby's "How To Give a Successful Ignite Presentation"

I bounced some ideas off of Ken Denmead at GeekDad.com (Thank you Ken!).

The biggest realization I had was how vulnerable I felt talking about parenting, my kids, and doing geeky stuff with my kids. The place was sold out with 420 in attendance and I just wasn't used to talking on a subject so personal in front of so many people. 

Towards the end of my talk you'll see me get a little choked up when the slide of my daughter's thank you card is on the screen. That was a surprise. I practiced my talk so many times and not once did I have an emotional reaction to my daughter's card. Sharing that image with hundreds of people really did get me connected with why I do this Geek Dad stuff - - it's a great way to spend time with my kids.

 You'll hear me mention the weekend Hovercraft Project and the Adventure Tower project. 


Hovercraft -- weekend DIY project

On Saturday February 9, 2013 my daughter and her friend helped me build a hovercraft. In just two hours we were floating across the floor!

We started with one 4'x4' piece of plywood (4 ply) that is 1/2 inch thick.

Lift is provided by an electric TORO leaf blower but I plan to upgrade to a cordless (battery powered) leaf blower.I prefer electric over gas power because I plan to only use this indoors.

For the hovercraft to move forward it must be pushed (or pulled).

The hovercraft worked great on the cement floor of the warehouse. It did not work well outside on asphalt (pavement).

This hovercraft was inspired by a project in the MAKE Magazine blog HERE.

Science of hovercrafts found HERE.

 


Near Space Balloon Launch

In the fall of 2012 I helped a group of middle school students send a GoPRO HD video camera to "near space".  What follows are the details of the project.

Here is the 3 minute video showing the highlights of the launch and recovery:

Asheville, NC Tedx Near Space Project from Peter Lutz on Vimeo.

 

 

Project Facts:

  • 1200 gram latex weather balloon was filled with 150 cubic feet of helium -- weather balloon was approximately 6 feet in diameter at lift off.
  • Payload was an off-the-shelf styrofoam cooler that was modified for this project.
  • Payload weighed 4 pounds.
  • Payload contents included: GoPRO Hero 2 HD video camera with a 32 GB memory card and extra battery pack, SPOT gps unit, PocketFinder gps unit, personal items from each student
  • Launched on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 9:20 am EST
  • Launching location:  Francine Delany New School for Children Charter School (www.fdnsc.net) in Asheville, NC
  • This project was a collaboration between the school and TEDx Asheville 2012.

more coming...