Getting kids engaged and excited about learning in the STEM Classroom
From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis
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Dr. Robin Ellwood moved from lecture to hands-on STEM with her eighth graders and shows us how. Robin’s students designed a remote underwater vehicle (ROV) that went to Antarctica. She was intimidated when she started thinking about it. But she learned it with the kids as she went.
What blows my mind is that Robin has her PhD and yet she still learned how to make the ROV together with her students. Robin’s transparency encourages all of us to a new model of learning in the STEM classroom. Robin even shares her first “disaster” and how she turned it into a dream. Hands-on exploration is the way to go with kids and STEM!
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- How Dr. Ellwood didn’t know everything but didn’t let that stop her.
- How students and Robin learned together about how to make the underwater ROV.
- What are the things that almost stopped Robin from moving to hands-on learning in STEM?
- How Robin enjoys teaching so much more with this new model of STEM teaching.
- The active, messy learning that happens now that Robin’s class does STEM.
- Robin shares her first failures as she tried to make this move and how she pushed passed it and helped the class have a common language.
- How classroom disasters don’t have to be career ending! You can turn them into a dream!
- How DOING STEM forces us to move from scripting. Robin shares her views on authentic direction versus scripting.
- The balance that challenges kids appropriately at their cognitive level without overwhelming them.
Robin Elwood has a bachelor’s degree in zoology, a master’s and doctorate degree in science education, and has been an 8th grade science teacher for 24 years; she has particular passions for inquiry-based and STEM-based science education and strives to have her students participate in “real-world” science, such as building, testing, and deploying an underwater ROV into the icy depths of Antarctica!