Saturday, July 26, 2014

Learning by Doing, part 1

It's been a busy summer full of learning by doing, to quote John Dewey.  I started off with presenting at a STEM club conference in Phoenix, AZ on computational thinking, creativity, and PBL integrating technology such as coding and 3D printing.  It still amazes me when I see where we are in education now and what my third and fourth graders are doing.  Truly creativity and collaboration in action and a reminder that:  “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”  John Dewey
It is great that organizations within the state such as Helios Education Foundation working together with businesses and educators to bridge the STEM gap.  STEM clubs are a great way to directly impact the lives and futures of our students. 

From Phoenix, I spent living for two weeks at the Biosphere 2 (B2) in Oracle, AZ attending an APS-sponsored educator workshop where we lived, breathed, and did STEM.  We truly learned by doing.  Integrating field research techniques such as transects and measuring the transpiration of leaves, we conducted group research in the mangrove forests of the B2, ending with a poster presentation to administrators, University of Arizona faculty and other member of the community.  This was truly problem-based learning in action and a time to forge life-long colleagues and friends from districts throughout Arizona as well as to learn from leading experts and researchers in all STEM disciplines.
Research in the lab
Top Left:  Ocean biome in B2 (70,000 gallons of Pacific Ocean water); Top Right: Rainforest; Bottom Left: Savanna; Bottom Right:  Desert

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