As a part of the support we provide to the Laurence parents as a school, I started a new blog series called “Dear Tech-y”. Parents can ask questions anonymously and get answers.
In the first Dear Tech-y installment, a parent asked,
We hear a lot about how bad screen time is, but in doing so are we overlooking the benefits of coding, internet research, and content creation? (I’m talking about supervised screen time, of course.) What if the next Zuckerberg is being discouraged from developing because we’re restricting learning that involves a screen?
At Laurence, we have one elective class during trimester three for almost all students in grades 3-5 — The STEAM Elective!
Last year, we designed a solar car challenge, where students learned how to design a car from two fantastic designers, Michael DiTullo and Jonathan Ward of ICON 4×4 Cars. Then, over the course of 7 classes, students interviewed another student and designed a solar car based on the brainstorming that took place with their partner. The final class culminated in students showing off their cars and exchanging what they built with their partner.
There is so much I love about this unit. It has happened each year I have been at Hamlin, but as it is exemplary student-centered learning in action – it’s as different every year as the students who make the learning happen.
This year Rachel Davis did an incredible job in documenting the work and reflections of the Grade 1 students and their teachers, enjoy –
Thanks to all the teachers that came together and designed this learning experience!
I was lucky enough to be asked to speak on a panel at this year’s ATLIS conference focusing on Makerspaces with the amazing Dr. Ashley Cross, Director of Technology, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School, Tatyana Griffin Director of Educational Technology & xLab (MakerSpace) Coordinator, The College Preparatory School, Leigh Northrup Dean of Innovation and Technology, Cannon School, moderated by Sarah Rolle, Director of Technology, Elizabeth Morrow School.
The goal was to discuss how our makerspaces have evolved, how we integrate them programmatically, tips and trips, as well as philosophical questions around project-based learning. Considering we had 45 minutes, we covered a lot of ground!
Check out these cool resources that Sarah compiled from the group as a take-away from our talk.
An integrator’s job is to meet with teachers to discuss their curriculum goals and brainstorm ways to make projects more fun and interactive through the use of technology/making.
In Grade 2, students learn about San Francisco landmarks, so we thought it would be interesting for students to build the Golden Gate Bridge in teams. We wanted the project to integrate both engineering and technology. Each group constructed their bridges using materials, such as cardboard, paper, tape. Once the main building phase was completed we challenged each group to integrate basic circuits into their sculpture using conductive thread, tape, LEDs, and coin batteries.
Group work also addresses other classroom goals, such as developing listening skills, learning how to work well with others, practicing advocating for yourself and your ideas while staying open-minded to what others have to contribute, and being flexible.