Monday, May 19, 2014

STEM: Action Research

As a part of my master's class on action research, I conducted research about how much the students are actually learning science in my classroom. Sounds kind of crazy right? How much are the students really learning about kinetic and potential energy when we do the catapult challenge? Are students really learning about insulators and conductors when they create a stylus or is this just a fun challenge? So, I set on my exciting, riveting action research journey. I am a big fan of action research... This busy class assignment just came when I was moving, changing jobs, going to weddings every weekend, etc. Too busy = master's classes not fun. Anywho, here's the down and dirty of what I discovered is happening in my own classroom. The students are learning the overarching concepts. For example, students are learning that more potential energy = more kinetic energy. Heat is conducted more efficiently by a metal than a cloth. However, students need the academic vocabulary to scientifically explain these concepts. Students need an academic lesson on the vocabulary of insulators and conductors. kinetic energy. potential energy. I am IN LOVE with STEM projects. They teach students critical problem-solving skills, perseverance, the engineering process, and they feed the natural inquiry of children. I would adore a curriculum that had a STEM curriculum to go with every scientific learning standard. While I am working on that, I work in peace knowing and having the data to prove that students are learning scientific concepts as well during these crazy chaotic project times.

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