Back Glenridge Middle School
STEM Education is at the forefront of education. Teachers are offering students authentic
learning experiences that include hands-on opportunities. When students think of STEM, they
might reflect on one of these problem-solving lessons. However, an area of concern is arising at
our school. Often times, the learning stays in the classroom or leaves with the final semester
exam. That brought us to this question: What STEM learning opportunity not only involves our
students, but leaves them wanting more? What experience will entice students towards a STEM
career? Our answer is student-centered, as that is the unique quality that makes learning stick.
Why not "market" STEM to students by actually giving THEM the reigns to create STEM
interactive books? The concepts provided for in this grant are vital to bridging the gap between
just learning concepts and "seeing the possibilities" of a STEM Career through collaboration and
connections with community partners. "Dr. Stem" connects our middle school students with
Medical Students at the University of Central Florida. Through planned sessions this semester,
our students will not only work collaboratively (both in person and online class) but will then use
technology tools to plan, design and create interactive digital books that will be shared to
reinforce learning and promote STEM careers to other students. This grant puts learning in the
hands of our students and gives them the tech tools necessary to envision their future!
Innovation in the classroom comes when we don't just give our students information, but show them avenues to travel to find that information. This grant, "Dr. Stem" will put the learning in the hands of our students and give them just that. When our students are actively involved in desgining and creating, the levels of learning, engagement and motivation are much higher. Done right, STEM engages students and increases motivation with project-based learning, works with others in authentic learning situations, and encourages students to investigate careers that involve STEM concepts.
For this grant, the following are included: 1. Discuss the personal characteristics STEM professionals share, outline the skills needed to follow a STEM career 2. Describe at least five different careers in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields and how they are interrelated to the Medical Field studied. 3. Compare and contrast the education requirements needed in two different STEM careers 4. Use technology tools to create information about choosing a STEM career over a career in the entertainment or sports industry NOTE: As for the technology element and how it will be used to promote/feature the work our partners and students do together, if are not familiar with the capabilities of iBooks Author please see http://www.apple.com/ibooks-author/ This is a vital element to this project. Common Core Standards: Project-based learning with integrated content across STEM subjects, Integration of technology and virtual learning, Authentic assessment and exhibition of STEM skills, Community/industry partnerships and connections with education connections, Writing to inform; compiling non-fiction facts and information, using design and layout to provide author's purpose and influence readers.
Using Technology to expand STEM concepts and experiences, Using Technology to increase interest in STEM careers.
Timeline: February: Students create "applications" to the DR. STEM Program and receive their own white coat to wear during project times. Pre-interest and content based surveys will be administered to students to use in data collection for program. Students begin research on Medical Field problems and join online class component with business partners (allows for constant communication between the two groups)
March: Field Trip to Full Sail University(school pays for/not grant reliant) to learn ways in which technology can be used to promote their STEM experience to others. Students begin working in iBooks Author to build interactive projects and prepare for on-site visits.
March: Community Partner on-site activities. Students create interactive books by recording their interviews on iPad Minis and Flip Cameras. Students also use these devices to reinforce STEM concepts (Apps/Creation) and bios of their partners. After each partner visit, team prepares interactive book.
May/June: One class trip to UCF College of Medicine. Presentation of books on iTunesU. Media Coverage of planned event, as students will showcase all technology projects and how to access their digital books on iTunesU. Postassessments included as well as reflection pieces due by each participant. These student reflections of the program will be put into video form and showcased on the school's YouTube Channel. TERRA and their support of this grant will be included for promotion of their generous grant program.
There are many paths to success in this grant. Learning Outcomes is perhaps the most exciting! This grant will take students, almost half low-performing and give them the opportunity...the power to CREATE. We can feed students STEM Information all day and hope for the best. OR we can introduce students to real people who may have had the same middle school struggles they are currently going through, but took off on a spark and are now graduating from a top medical school. Students will see a real-life path to success in the STEM world. In addition, the academic standards that are woven in this project are many. Reading, researching, writing, brainstorming, team collaboration, seeing connections between STEM concepts, understanding how technology is not just synonymous with computers, but technology is anything that advances society. What a sense of pride students will have as the STEM books they've created are downloaded by not only students at our school but from around the world.
Thank you for your consideration of this project. We have the innovative project, the community partners lined up and have already received a grant from Target stores that will help pay for part of the grant and the field trips involved. However, it is the lack of technology tools that is holding this project back from being implemented. The technology listed in this grant will not only be used for this grant, but will benefit our students in innovative and collaborative projects for years to come. Let's give our students technology not just to consume...but to create. Giving our students the power to create is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.