Creating Coding Lessons – Grade 6-8: Part 2
Any time I try something new I get some unexpected results. Often I learn something new. Usually I tweak something. Sometimes I find a connection to something else. My students find the lesson easier or harder than I expected. I've even discovered that some of my basic assumptions were faulty before. This time is no different. This coding lessons reflection will be of dubious use to you without having read this post. Don't let me dissuade you though, read away. What follows is an outline, and reflection on what I have done for the coding lesson I am working on so far.…

Advanced Ev3 Robotics Lesson For Superstars – Problem Solving
My first year teaching STEM was relatively simple from a curriculum design perspective. I knew that grades 5 & 6 would be robotics, and 7 & 8 would be 3D printing (Grade 4 Was a mystery, but I knew I'd figure it out eventually). As none of my students had previous exposure to Robots or 3D printing I could just give my grades 5 & 6 the same lesson, and give my grades 7 & 8 the same lesson. After they had the basics, I would go advanced the next year. The problem was that though I found some basic Ev3 lessons, there didn't seem to be an Advanced Ev3 Robotics Lesson to look at anywhere.…

Lesson: SuperStar Rocketry 2 – 3D Printing Lesson
When I first started teaching I got offered an incredible budget to set up my STEM program. The only caveat was that I buy a 3D printer with some of the money. The challenge however, was that I'd never heard 3D printing before, let alone how to design a 3D Printing Lesson. What I needed was something simple, engaging, adaptable, and quick to learn. I did internet research, and though there are some good resources now, at the time there really weren't. Instead I designed my own curriculum for grade 7 & 8. After twelve or so refinements I came up with the 3D Printing Lesson you're about to read.…

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.…

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.…