As the Innovation and Design Instructor for my school, providing eLearning opportunities for my students as been challenging, yet rewarding. I teach at an Intermediate School that serves students in grades 4-6. For the fourth and fifth grade classes, I team teach. Together, we implement Problem Based Learning mini units that incorporate STEM. I have found that my students still enjoy this process online as I carefully craft similar units. For example, this week the fourth graders have a choice of selecting two activities to complete that involves research and engineering. The activities can choose from are:
The students really seem to enjoy having choices. Prior to adding the assignment, I share with the teachers and ask them to review it and add suggestions. This helps them see how I have attempted to use interdisciplinary instruction that incorporates STEM. In an effort to focus on standards and extending learning, the fourth graders would be completing animal studies during this nine week grading period. Below are examples of completed work.
I have two classes of sixth graders who work primarily with 3D printers, drones, robotics, scripts and videos, and field cameras. I plan PBL units for them, too. My sixth graders had a very similar assignment as fourth grade, but at their grade level. They, too, would be studying life science in their regular classes. This nine weeks, were planning to use trail cameras to determine the types of wildlife that frequent the schoolyard. However, that did not seem to work out for us. My sixth graders had to apply graphing skills using Google Slides as well as including the scientific names for the birds and/or other animals they located in their yard habitats. Below are a couple of examples of student work.
Even though this is challenging, I am so proud of all my students. I created a tutorial showing the students how to create a Google Sheet because they have not used this tool before. I was amazed to see them being submitted to me. All my students’ “thirst” for knowledge even during these unprecedented times. They are working, learning, asking questions, and seem to be having fun! With each passing day, I, too, continue to grow and learn with eLearning just like my students.
Coastal Pee Dee Region: Derenda “Dee” Marshall, STEM Lab Teacher at Wacamaw Intermediate School in Georgetown County School District.