Last week, the STEM Tuesday team featured this month’s Book List on the topic Shining the Light on Technology, Engineering, and Math. Click here to go back to that list. It’s a broad-ranging list, certainly, which mades this week’s post about classroom applications even more fun! I’ve narrowed the focus to three amazing science topics.
Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World is by Reshma Saujani. Saujani is not only the author of an amazing book, but she’s also the founder of a worldwide organization by the same name. Girls Who Code offers free summer programs and year-round clubs and is more than 90,000 girls strong! After sharing this book in your classrooms and libraries, visit the Girls Who Code website and find out how to start a club in your school or community.
And, the book? You’ll have see it to believe it. Half how-to, half graphic novel, this is the most clearly written, interactive, and non-intimidating explanation of coding of I’ve ever seen. As an adult reader, I was fascinated. Middle-graders – boys or girls – won’t find a more thorough introduction into coding anywhere.
From the temples of Greece to the Chrysler Building in New York City to the Sydney Opera House, The Story of Buildings is a visual feast paired with fascinating detail and information about dozens of the most famous buildings in the world.
Do a “Before You Go” Project: Every school is different when it comes to field trips and travel opportunities for middle-graders. Some schools take an annual trip to Washington, DC, where the focus is often American history, but the opportunity for architectural study abounds. My own children, who all attended a very rural public school, had the fortune to spend a weekend in Chicago as fifth graders, where everyone took the Chicago River Architectural Boat Tour. Urban students might only need to go out their school’s front doors and look up to find inspiring examples of architecture. Whether your class field trip takes you miles or minutes from home, consider using this book as a “before you go” learning experience. The prior knowledge will shine through as your students recognize structural and design elements in every building they see.
When it comes to robotics, classroom applications are seemingly endless! Below is a list of possible activities to explore after reading Jennifer Swanson’s Everything Robotics from National Geographic Kids.
- Find a workshop, event, or online challenge for teams and individuals by clicking here to go to Robot Events, a web service of The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, which exists to connect students, mentors, and schools in every community to a variety of successful and engaging technology-based programs.
- LEGO fun. Click here to go the LEGO Middle School Education page.
- Enlist NASA’s help! Visit NASA’s Robotics Alliance Project page for 6th – 8th graders for a list of links you’ll love!
- Robot Scavenger Hunt – Robots are all around us. Start small. See if students can find any robots at work in their school or community. On a larger scale, take a look at robots in manufacturing. This interesting article will help you and your students locate which states rely most heavily on robotics to produce the goods we use every day.
- Predicting the future: Brainstorm in small groups what the future of robotics might hold. What are some potential practical uses of robotics that might make life better?
- Hold a debate. Are robots the key to a productive future? Or do they threaten jobs once filled by humans? Is there a possibility that robots could become too intelligent? Here’s a great resource for holding classroom debates. I’d like to be a fly on the wall in a middle-grade classroom for this one!
Can you add to the conversation? In what ways have you been shining a light on Technology, Engineering, and Math? Comment below and share an idea!
Today’s STEM Tuesday post was prepared by Michelle Houts, wanna-be-coder, fan of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, future robot owner, and author of the Lucy’s Lab Chapter Books from Sky Pony Press.