Jul 22, 2015

NASA 21st Century Teacher Academy

Blackford Elementary teacher, Anupama Gupta, and I just participated in the very first 21st NASA Century Teacher Academy! We joined 21 other educators from around the country in learning about NASA's mission, current research, and best practices in science and technology.
Educator teams from California, Florida, Hawaii, and Idaho
 Some of our highlights from the program included:
Designing our own NASA Mission Patch
3D Printing, Scanning, and LaserCutting in the SpaceShop
Learning about the Centrifuge
Meeting Kurt Long and testing our prototypes in the Fluid Mechanics Lab
Using the Engineering Design Process to design, create, and launch Hot Air Balloons and Parachutes

Touring the ArcJet Lab
Visiting the world's largest Wind Tunnel (80 x 120)
NASA's two newest 21st Century Educators!
Anu and I also used our new learning to create a Project Based Learning NGSS unit on Weather, Climate, and Hot Air Balloons. We are planning to utilize experts from BloomSky and NASA to implement this unit with Anu's third grade class in the fall. Watch our brief overview of the unit below:

Learn more about the NASA 21st Century Teacher Academy:

Jul 15, 2015

Makey Makeys

In the spring, we had a few upper elementary and middle school classes try out the Makey Makey kits. Each Makey Makey kit costs about $50 and we found that it works best with 2 - 3 students working with each kit. The Makey Makeys provided the kids a creative tool to invent and engineer different types of circuits.

All of the 4th graders at Rosemary Elementary School experimented with the Makey Makeys as a part of their electricity science unit. After learning about insulators and conductors, Amelia Von Gerer, Erin Ito, and Jessica Fidiam's classes used the Makey Makey's to test different objects around the classroom. Their favorite test objects were humans! Holding hands, we started with a two person circuit, and eventually added the entire class. Students then used a Chromebook, playdough, foil, and other conductors to create a piano using http://makeymakey.com/piano/

The 6th Graders in Terri Hughes' class at Campbell Middle School also used the Makey Makeys to create video game controllers. They were particularly proud to use the controllers to play the original games that they had coded on Scratch. Some of the objects that they used were salt dough, apples, bananas, pencil lead, paper clips, and pickles. They also got really creative designing Makey Makey connectors out of foil bracelets, arm bands, and finger sleeves!

Jul 10, 2015

Advanced STEAM and Technology Summer Cohort

We just completed our very first Campbell Advanced STEAM and Technology Summer Teacher Cohort! We selected 11 very motivated and innovative teachers from our elementary and middle schools to participate. Keeping the cohort small allowed us to share personal teaching experiences and to have meaningful conversations around future classroom integration.
Andy Stoller (MakersFactory Instructor), Heather Haggerty (CUSD Technology Manager) and myself facilitated this week of professional learning. We really wanted our teachers to get a hands-on experience with three of our favorite STEAM tools and to experience them as both teachers and students. 

On Monday, we focused on 3D Modeling and Printing using TinkerCad and MakerBot. 

On Tuesday, we focused on MinecraftEdu in the classroom. 

On Wednesday, we focused on computer science using Google CS First.

On Thursday, we gave teachers opportunities to participate in different expert groups, based on topics that they wanted a deeper understanding of. We were very fortunate to have several members of our own CUSD Tech team (Kris, Wes, Ernie, and Walter) join us as technology expert group leaders. Some of the options that were available were setting up a CUSD Minecraft Server, MinecraftEdu Build Tools and Worlds, Robotics, Blender, 3D Printer Specifics, and Engineering Design. 

On Friday, we focused on STEAM and Technology classroom integration lesson planning, funding opportunities, and reflection. We will also be meeting during the school year to continue to collaborate with one another. You can learn more about resources and our ongoing STEAM and Tech adventures at: http://cusdsteamandtech.weebly.com/