Unami's STEM Space

Posted by JONATHAN TAYLOR on 7/7/2018 6:00:00 AM

Really excited and encouraged by innovative practices by my fellow CB leaders- Featured here - Unami's renovations include a STEM shared space looks to potentially be a great use of space for project based, collaborative learning to occur for both students and teachers. 

Years ago, my math colleague and I agreed we should do something fun together. It's easy for me as an elective teacher because I choose to collaborate and need to stay innovative with projects as any engineering/shop class should be- (worksheets are evil in shop class as I learned early on) But for my math colleague, it was more of a risk with curriculum requirements and keystone testing demands.

After a few meetings, we hashed out a plan with a rocket activity. Capitalizing on my skills as a builder and his skills as a math genius, we went with a skeleton plan and just told the 40 plus kids to try to build a rocket and have fun with it. 

Based off of a simpler paper and tape rocket design from NASA - Greg and I planned for 2 days (it ended up being 4, but then we narrowed it to 3) with students building the rockets and launching them. Sure- it was fun to see them go far- some went 400 plus feet into the ball field. The interesting part came when we went to the classroom and saw the math come alive- I would hope the kids got alot out of the acitivty, but for me it was a career changer- Greg worked his mastery with Excel and numbers- creating charts that compared length of rocket to distance, weight of rocket to distance, a few years later, we compared nose cone slope to distance travelled... and then Greg would show the kids the Rsquared value to SEE the change in variables on the chart- Wow, that was cool.

We continue the activity through to this day almost 10 years later. I hope the Unami teachers make a connection between subject areas and use the STEM space to spur this kind of thinking amongst their classes.