The VariQuest Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Tools Blog contains resources on classroom ideas, lesson plans, industry news, events, and offers throughout education.
We talk a lot about STEM, or practicing curriculum within its relation to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, so today let's amplify the E for Engineering, as it relates to projects across all subject matter where students design, build, and test a solution to a problem. The Engineering Design Cycle encourages students' critical thinking, and learning by failing or doing, which is increasingly how the working world is progressing towards innovation. Divide your students into groups, give them a problem to solve, and have them complete the 6 steps of the Engineering Design Cycle, illustrated in this great poster created in partnership with STEM Fuse, for your classroom or makerspace!
By now, you've probably heard about "makerspaces" and how they're being added in schools across the country - encouraging students of all ages to explore, create, build, tinker, and experiment through hands-on learning. (For a refresher, check out our blog, "What is a Makerspace?") STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math) learning is important to us here at VariQuest, because we know it's important to you. And a makerspace is a great solution for creating an environment conducive to this methodology - with the space being as high- or low-tech as your imagination (or funds) can reach! As your first step, how about a free ebook, helping you consider what's necessary to build one in your school? Well, we've got that, right here for you! "How to Build a Makerspace: A Guide for Educators Striving to Build Student Success Through Hands-On Learning" will discuss...
This helpful guide includes an explanation of the grant process, including a checklist (with samples!), and useful links and resources to find funding!
Engaging students in a meaningful learning experience is the ideal goal of an educator. Providing every learner with a hands-on, eyes-on, ears-on, and minds-on activity amplifies the learning process and ensures student achievement. STEM, or Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math - is the most talked-about education methodology today - an opportunity for students to envelop themselves in learning that not only teaches them core subject competencies, but also connects those teachings to real-world, meaningful applications. You may have heard the word "makerspace" mentioned in conversations around how to offer an engaging, hands-on learning experience. But what exactly is, a makerspace?
3D Printing is a relatively new concept in education curriculum - but it engages all kinds of learners, and instills real-world critical thinking and innovative problem-solving 21st century skills. Seems to be a no-brainer for an educator looking to breathe new life into a STEM curriculum. At Holly Grove Elementary School in Holly Springs, North Carolina, Ms. Jennifer Starkey, a technology teacher, has been thrilled to watch her students design, create, and learn when the VariQuest Trifecta™ 800 3D Printer brings their ideas to life - which has made her classroom the most popular in the school. With over 1,100 students in grades K-6, including some Pre-K and special education students, Ms. Starkey needed a solution to engage every learner. Starting with her 2nd, 4th, and 5th graders, who are fully immersed in the 3D printing hands-on learning tasks, the classroom has turned out some pretty amazing projects as they Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve, and Share (The Engingeering Design Cycle). It's easy to see how 3D Printing is benefiting education at Holly Grove...
As STEM-related jobs are on the rise, women continue to be widely under-represented in STEM professions. Even though women make up more than half of college graduates, they comprise a staggering minority of engineering and computer professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies three broad categories of STEM occupations. In 2016, women accounted for 42% of the workforce in life, physical and social science occupations, but only 25% of the workforce in computer and mathematical industries, and an even lesser 14% of full-time architecture and engineering jobs.
STEM education has traditionally focused on teaching subjects individually, with math and science as completely separate courses. But new standards suggest a more integrated framework, where students learn to make connections across all subject areas, and connect these disciplines to the world around them...and 3D Printing is a perfect way to do just that. Teaching STEM education with 3D Printing automatically combines technology and engineering, in addition to the objectives of each lesson, which might be English, social studies, or even art-based, providing a hands-on project to bring concepts to life. For example, here's a lesson (from the eBook) that could involve at least 5 disciplines...
STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics curriculum is meant to be an immersive solution to teach students learning those four disciplines in a way that is meaningful for real world application. As a Kinesthetic Learning approach is based in our need to move, touch, and feel to understand, the two concepts are an obvious pairing. Research has found that a student’s learning process, not their level of intelligence, is the most important indicator in determining learning abilities. With this approach, movement and action replace more passive forms of learning, fostering curiosity and creativity, and allowing students to confidently and actively absorb concepts while connecting them to real life. And with STEM careers increasingly shaping our future, integrating STEM-focused curriculum and activities with kinesthetic learning into your classroom will excite and encourage students to further explore their interests in STEM fields, and provide them with a bright future ahead.
"In the coming years, we should build on that progress by...offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one." -President Barack Obama, 2016 State of the Union Address It's no secret that there's money in STEM. With related jobs in higher demand than ever before, these fields offer a lucrative career path for interested individuals. But when only 51% of US school districts are cognizant of the $7 billion behind STEM, therein lies the secret that merits promulgation. Billions. That's nine zeros. Before the decimal point.
This post has been republished with permission from Dr. Melissa Hughes, a curriculum and instruction expert. In partnership with Dr. Hughes, VariQuest delivers professional development webinars to valued educators. To learn more about this offer, visit our professional development page. The Maker Movement, as it’s called, is finding its way to more and more classrooms today. STEM and STEAM initiatives have promoted a learning culture that flips the priority from the consumption of information to the production of innovative and creative meaning. According to some educational experts, the Maker Movement could actually be the impetus for the next industrial revolution.
The 2015/2016 school year was one for the books (an open-educational-resource book, that is). With the federal government embracing a rather laissez-faire approach toward education, with the student learning experience shedding its spectator skin for a more "doing" dermis, and with the virtual world continuing to grow in opportunities (for better or for worse), VariQuest has highlighted the top 5 topics in education.