Ashton Cofer and his FIRST® LEGO® League team won the 2016 FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award for developing a process to convert Styrofoam waste into activated carbon, which can be used to purify water. Here, he writes about what inspires him and his teammates to innovate.
Just like your students, finding activities you choose which allow you to find joy in the process is important. Take time to find that joy for yourself.
One of the many reasons I love PBL (project based learning) is that it provides so many opportunities for students to develop skills they need to be successful in life.
“Stop playing around and get to work!”
Sound familiar? I suspect that if you are a parent or a teacher this is a phrase you’ve said, or been tempted to say, on a few occasions.
Attracting and retaining more girls and young women to STEM fields takes the support of parents, teachers, mentors, role models, and professional organizations, with each playing a significant role. From initiatives such as SWENext and FIRST® to grassroots virtual mentoring programs and revolutionizing the way math is taught, the conversation continues.
To cement learning, allow students to use skills to solve real-world coding challenges.
There is a long list of initiatives to grow students’ interest and proficiency in science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM) fields, which is good news for all kids. But in terms of recruitment, confidence building, and the availability of relevant role models, there is still a gap when it comes to girls.
Did you know that only 33 states allow students to count computer science course toward high school graduation? And although 90 percent of parents want their child to study computer science, only 40 percent of schools teach it.
The education system maintains a structure that is not conducive for innovative thinking and creation. Namely, structured time blocks of separate subject matter delivery does not allow for constructivist learning as well as integrative and design thinking. Even though we cannot blow up and rebuild the existing educational structures in the immediate, we still can use simple hacks to promote innovation in our classrooms.
Last week, our internal communications team got a frantic request for help, from an engineer who has to give a presentation at an upcoming conference but is terrified of public speaking. (Requests like this—and others related to writing—come in fairly often.) The team provided training for him, of course, but the situation made me think that if he’d been exposed to environments when he was younger that had helped him develop public speaking skills, he wouldn’t be panicking today.