STEM Drop-In Friday: Iteration With Paper Helicopters
One of the things I like to do in my classroom is what I like call STEM Drop-In lessons. Periodically I come up with a mini project for the kids to do that will teach an engineering concept in a single class period while spending little to no money. The STEM Drop-In uses inexpensive materials, and allows my students a great deal of exploration in their learning. I also try to pick projects that are expandable, and easy to customize so I can possibly back up what they happen to be working on in their other classes. In this particular case I am looking for my students to work on three separate concepts. First, they are exploring the engineering design concept of iteration. Second, this STEM Drop-In has them experientially research the science & technology of flight. Third, this project has them working with data.…

Ev3 Robotics Lesson for Superstars: Lesson 1
I came to STEM education by way of working in an after school program where I taught an Ev3 Robotics Lesson to students in grade 4-8. At the time, I was beginning my career in education, working on an MA in English, and hadn't programmed a computer since college in the late 1990's. The after school program director handed me an Ev3 education kit, and had me learn how to use it over Christmas break. I had a little more than a week (crammed full of holiday stuff) to not only learn an Ev3 Robotics Lesson myself, but to also create a lesson to teach twelve students. This post is designed to help you avoid the brain damage I suffered at my own hands by giving you a good place to start, and some resources for further exploration.…

Lesson: SuperStar Rocketry 1 – Intro to Rocketry & Data
5...4...2...1...LAUNCH, LAUNCH, LAUNCH! Finally, the moment you've been waiting for; an actual lesson plan for rocketry! Without a solid foundation of common vocabulary, data use, aerodynamics, and science any other lesson in rocketry will fail to launch (Sorry, I couldn't resist), as such we need to begin at the beginning. Don't worry, this isn't rocket science. Wait, it IS rocket science (Last one, I promise)! Still, don't worry even if you don't have any experience teaching a rocketry lesson. After reading this post I am certain you'll be able to guide your students to learn everything they need to know to get started. Also, rockets are fun!…

Books as SuperStar STEM Teaching Resources: Top 5
Despite the massive tonnage of information available on the internet from places like this little 'ol blog I found that when I started my STEM teaching journey I really didn't even know what to look for. Couple that with my lifelong love of reading (including a Masters in English), and it's only natural that I'd turn to books. Specifically, books on Amazon, and ideally books that I could pop onto my kindle reading app with nothing more than a click of a button. Even with the incredible ease of purchase, there was still the matter of finding the right book, and reading it of course.…

Rocketry as a SuperStar STEM Super Topic
"To place a man in a multi-stage rocket and project him into the controlling gravitational field of the moon where the passengers can make scientific observations, perhaps land alive, and then return to earth - all that constitutes a wild dream worthy of Jules Verne." Lee De Forest There are very few topics I have found that so naturally lend themselves to STEM as model rocketry.…

Top Five STEM Learning Tools Wishlist
One of my greatest mentors in STEM told me a story soon after we met. He told me about his first teaching post, and one of his own mentors. The head of his department took him into the storage room, and showed him a set of 30 Microscopes. When my mentor said "How did you get all these?" his mentor replied "One or two at a time over the course of a 20 year career". Education is a marathon, not a sprint, don't be afraid to take your time. The learning tools below are fantastic! They are also expensive, and if you read this post not necessary for a strong STEM lesson.…

Content Drives Technology NOT The Other Way Around
One of the ways I work to help other teachers have success in STEM Education is by working as a consultant and designer. Part of that work involves giving talks on various aspects of STEM. One of the things I've noticed (and it makes me absolutely crazy!) is that teachers fight to buy technology they have no plan for. What a waste of time and effort! Before you spend dime one on any new "product" you should have a good idea about how it will fit into your curriculum.…

Welcome To My Blog: Where Super Teachers Become STEM Superstars!
Congratulations! You made it! You've found this little corner of internet because you're interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education. You could be entirely new to STEM Education like I was when I started searching for ideas (I sold cars before becoming a STEM teacher), or you're looking for some additional resources to really amp up your current STEM curriculum. Look no further brave adventurer! Herein you shall find all you seek, and more.…