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STEM pattern

Center for STEM Education Blog

As Teachers, Do We Fear Failure?

on Thursday, 16 May 2019 Posted in Center for STEM Education Blog, Teacher Perspective

By: Sarah Lamphier - Instructional Science Coach, Trustey STEM Teaching Fellows

Are Teachers Afraid of Failure?

My fourth-grade teacher’s classroom walls were cluttered with educational and motivational posters that she had collected over the years. Most vivid in my memory is one with dramatic mountain peaks colored by the sunrise, the word “success” looming large in the foreground. I don’t remember the rest of the quote or its author, but the message of success as the ultimate goal—the mountain summit—came across loud and clear. A few decades later and now on the other side of the desk, I see this emphasis on success as misguided at best. In fact, I would argue that failure is worth much more effort and offers more value in STEM classrooms.

Bringing PD to the Front of the Mind, Not the Bottom of the Pile

on Monday, 08 October 2018 Posted in Center for STEM Education Blog, Teacher Perspective

By: Mark Westlake, Trustey Fellows Cohort 4 - Saint Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, MN

Mark Westlake Trustey STEM Fellows Blog

I’m no stranger to professional development. Throughout 28 years of teaching physics, I have participated in many professional development workshops that provided ideas I could use with students or things I could buy for my classroom, but none of these actually changed the way that I teach. When you get near the three-decade mark as an educator, you pretty much think you have it figured out. When our small band of science and math teachers applied to the Notre Dame Trustey STEM Fellowship, I anticipated picking up some new ideas, but I never thought it would completely change my focus and approach to educating our students. I was wrong.

Extending STEM Beyond the Classroom Walls

on Tuesday, 04 December 2018 Posted in Center for STEM Education Blog, Teacher Perspective

By: Karl Ochsner, Trustey Fellows Cohort 2 - St. John XXIII Catholic School in Scottsdale, AZ

Karl Ochsner - Extending STEM Beyond the Classroom Walls

In 2008, I was asked to move up to teach seventh- and eighth-grade science. With this change, I inherited our school’s annual middle school science fair. Students created individual projects using the scientific method and were judged by parent volunteers. Unsurprisingly, students created many projects based on the Coke and Pepsi taste test, Mentos and Dr. Pepper geyser experiments, and volcanoes that shoot out red food dye. These projects hinted at the fundamental principles of science, but they lacked civic engagement, engineering design, and the essential 21st-century learning skills that businesses have been asking our education systems to incorporate into their curriculums.

Finding Authentic STEM Contexts in Our Own Backyard

on Thursday, 07 February 2019 Posted in Center for STEM Education Blog, School/Community Level, Teacher Perspective

By: Yanny Salom, Trustey Fellows Cohort 2 - Holy Family Catholic School in Jacksonville, FL

Yanny Salom STEM Blog

All human activities have short and long-term consequences for ecosystems. The ethical considerations those consequences raise become an opportunity for our students to consider the impact of their decisions and their solutions. Highly effective STEM education helps students recognize the multiplicity of solutions while weighing the implications for people and the environment. Especially in light of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter about taking care of the Earth, Laudato si’, STEM education has an important place in Catholic education. It gives teachers the opportunity to teach ethics as our classrooms become spaces with a meaningful civic purpose that allow us to educate the whole child about the natural and material world around them.

Food for Thought

on Thursday, 17 September 2020 Posted in Center for STEM Education Blog, Classroom Ideas, Teacher Perspective

By: Yanny Salom, Trustey Fellows Cohort 2 - Holy Family Catholic School in Jacksonville, FL

Notre Dame Center for STEM Education Blog - Food for Thought

As we begin school in the midst of the pandemic, practicing social distancing protocols and developing new skills for distance learning does not mean that we have restricted our minds and spirits. As people of faith and STEM Trustey Fellows, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). We must use this unprecedented time to encounter opportunities in all circumstances, to cultivate a sense of community in our niche interests, and to find different ways to stay faithful, joyful, creative, and connected. The meaningful “Ideas Worth Sharing Webinars” offered by our STEM family is one of the ways I have stayed connected.

Gaming for a Good Cause

on Tuesday, 15 October 2019 Posted in Center for STEM Education Blog, School/Community Level, Teacher Perspective

By: By: Debra Marvin and Suzy Pohorence, Trustey Fellows Cohort 3 - St. Mary's School in Canandaigua, NY

Gaming for a Good Cause - Center for STEM Education Blog

One of the missions at St. Mary’s School in Canandaigua, NY is to provide opportunities for students to engage in meaningful activities that promote their learning as well as strengthen their faith. As STEM teacher leaders, our role is to ensure that all students experience STEM through this lens. So we focused on how we might use our school’s current relationships to integrate STEM and solve a real-world problem.

How About the Non-Math and Non-Science Teachers?

on Thursday, 18 April 2019 Posted in Center for STEM Education Blog, School/Community Level, Teacher Perspective

By: Doug Bauman, Trustey Fellows Cohort 1 - St. Barnabas Catholic School in Indianapolis, IN

Doug Bauman - What about non-math and non-science teachers?

As a kid in the 1980s, I always had a particular love for the Kenny Rogers’ hit “The Gambler.” In that often referenced tune, Kenny imparts some very useful and worldly advice when he declares, “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”

I don’t consider myself anything remotely close to a gambling man, but I have found myself heeding Kenny’s advice both inside and outside of my middle school math classroom in Indianapolis. When attempting to integrate STEM lessons into our classrooms, I would often hear the non-math and non-science teachers ask, ”How I am supposed to incorporate STEM into my curriculum? I don’t even teach math or science.” When collaborating with my teaching colleagues, at times it has truly been a poker game of sorts – figuring out which strategies to use with my fellow teachers to enable them to make rich and authentic STEM connections in all of our classrooms.

How to Survive Your First STEM Lesson

on Wednesday, 07 November 2018 Posted in Center for STEM Education Blog, Classroom Ideas, Teacher Perspective

By: Jenn Taylor, Trustey Fellows Cohort 2 - Clara Barton School in Cherry Hill, NJ

How to Survive Your First STEM Lesson

I have always considered myself a lifelong learner, curious about the ever changing world around me. Always looking for ways to improve my teaching, three years ago I applied and became a Trustey Family STEM Teaching Fellow. I arrived on campus ready to work hard and learn. After participating in my first “Integrated STEM Experience,” I left Notre Dame’s campus motivated to bring STEM to my students the way the Trustey faculty brought it to life for all of us. I felt empowered in a way I had never felt before. I was a rock star ready to take on the world!

Learning to Do More with Less: Thoughts around Assessment...and Marathons

on Tuesday, 19 May 2020 Posted in Center for STEM Education Blog, Teacher Perspective

By: Chris Judson - English Content Director, AP-TIP IN

Learning to Do More With Less

When my friend Tom suggested to me one day that we should run a marathon, I jumped at the chance.

Or, at least I thought it sounded like a good idea at the time.

Making the Most of This Moment

on Thursday, 23 April 2020 Posted in Center for STEM Education Blog, Impact on Students , Teacher Perspective

By: John Gensic - Trustey Fellows Instructional Coach

Making The Most of This Moment - John Gensic

We were in the trunk of our minivan–me, along with my seven and nine year olds, dragging a 16-foot oak branch, as my wife drove about five miles per hour from the woods at our neighborhood park to our house. We needed this branch to complete our socially-distanced backyard playground climbing structure. Since sheltering in place, we’ve started building a bunch of backyard structures as a way to pass time, stay active, and give us a  break from heavily screen-focused eLearning. 

Meeting Students Where They Are

on Tuesday, 10 December 2019 Posted in Center for STEM Education Blog, Teacher Perspective

By: Janice Blaine, Trustey Cohort 3 - Fernwood Avenue Middle School in Egg Harbor Township, NJ

Meeting Students Where They Are - Notre Dame STEM Education Blog

As a child, I would often get excited by the smell of grass outdoors as my father cut the lawn, or the sight of my mother’s ripe, red tomatoes in her garden.

How was it that the leaf covered lawn suddenly became clear, neat, and green after dad cut it? Where did the seeds that mom had planted in the garden months before go?

While these memories stem from my own childhood, I now witness children learning at a very young age by exploring, making observations, and asking questions about the world around them.

Programming Fun into a STEM Summer

on Tuesday, 17 September 2019 Posted in Center for STEM Education Blog, Teacher Perspective

By: Carolyn Keefe - Summer STEM Camp Instructor

Programming Fun into a STEM Summer

Robots. Vampires. Soccer. Computer games. Dance parties. Chickens.

While this eclectic list may very well look like the YouTube search history of a 12-year-old, this list was also part of the lesson plan for a middle school STEM camp I led this summer.

Spaces Teachers Create

on Tuesday, 08 January 2019 Posted in Center for STEM Education Blog, Teacher Perspective

By: Chris Judson, English Content Director, AP-TIP IN, University of Notre Dame

Chris Judson - Spaces Teachers Create - STEM Blog

My third-grade year began in a portable classroom and ended with me almost getting my eye shot out with a bb gun by my older brother. It was a traumatic year, but I'll save the bb gun incident for another time.

STEM Isn't for Everyone … but Who Gets to Decide?

on Tuesday, 14 January 2020 Posted in Center for STEM Education Blog, Impact on Students , Teacher Perspective

By: Nancy Paley, Trustey Fellows Cohort 2 - Clara Barton Elementary School in Cherry Hill, NJ

STEM Isn't for Everyone...but Who Gets to Decide?

STEM is not for everyone.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Just as subjects like art, reading, and many others don’t draw the on-going attention of every student, I believe that STEM as a college or career pathway is not for everyone. Many educators agree with this statement, but sadly, for very different reasons.

STEM Synergy: What Happens When Two Schools Team Up

on Tuesday, 11 February 2020 Posted in School/Community Level, Center for STEM Education Blog, Impact on Students , Teacher Perspective

By: Mark Westlake, Trustey Fellows Cohort 4 - St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, MN

STEM Synergy - Center for STEM Education Blog

The room looked exactly as I had pictured it in my mind. The brightly colored walls were covered with student work, the corner had a small art area, and behind a partition were little cubbies filled with jackets and boots. The room was obviously dedicated to student learning. It had been more than 20 years since I had been in an elementary school classroom, and the first thing that came to my mind was, “How in the world will I squeeze 15 high school senior boys in here?” Natalie Hager, the fifth-grade teacher at Community of Saints Regional Catholic School, didn’t seem as worried…..

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