Amy Newsome

Floyd

Amy Newsome

Floyd

Biography

Invention Convention

Little Bit of 21st Century Learning Project Summary Education is a dynamic field in which practitioners must constantly adapt. Rapid advances in technology have created a globalized society that requires higher levels of problem solving skills. Gone are the days of rote memorization and regurgitation (sit and get). Today’s students must be able to go beyond this type of learning and apply their conceptual understanding to solve everyday problems. In my classroom, students are in a transitional period. For the most part, their previous classroom experiences have been teacher-centered. Suddenly, they are expected to take ownership of their learning and apply their knowledge. Of course, the transition from one end of the spectrum to the other doesn’t happen immediately. Herein lies the problem. I must find innovative and engaging methods to teach students a new way to learn. This year, I plan to accomplish this goal by giving students the opportunity to become inventors. In order to successfully complete this endeavor, I will need access to some new resources. My research has lead me to two products made by Little Bits: the STEAM student set and Science Expansion Pack. I plan to use these resources to answer the following research question: Does the use of authentic tasks (inventions to solve everyday problems) in the classroom improve students’ 21st century problem solving skills? In order to measure the success of the Invention Convention, I will administer a pre- and post- assessment. The assessment will focus on 21st century problem solving skills. I will then perform statistical analysis of the results (i.e., a T-test) to determine whether or not the results are significant. In an effort to isolate the implementation of authentic tasks as the sole source of positive outcomes, I will establish a relationship with the students that is safe and genuine. I will provide a summary of my research and answer any questions prior to beginning the study. If I don’t establish a genuine relationship with the students, then I can’t expect them to commit. Without their commitment, the validity of the study could be altered. I predict that the students will see a significant increase in their problem solving skills by the conclusion of this study. Action Plan In an effort to improve my students’ 21st century problem solving skills, I would like to include opportunities to invent solutions to everyday problems (authentic tasks). The incorporation of Little Bits STEAM student sets and science expansion packs into my classroom will help me to achieve this goal. According to their website, the kits introduce “invention-based learning in the classroom. Developed with educators, STEAM Student Set makes engineering design fun and engaging for students by giving you everything you need to easily implement standards-aligned (Common Core, NGSS, TEKS) curriculum through hands-on learning. Each kit serves up to 3 students and is best suited for grades 3-8” (STEAM Student Set). Through the use of this kit, “students are prompted to find solutions to real world problems through applying engineering, physics, art, and design thinking in guided activities then progressing to open challenges” (STEAM Student Set). Over the course of the year, I will use invention logs and reflection prompts to encourage student introspection and self-expression. This will give the students and I the opportunity to monitor our progress. Additionally, I will administer a pre- and post- assessment. The assessment will focus on 21st century problem solving skills. I will then perform statistical analysis of the results (i.e., a T-test) to determine whether or not the outcomes are significant.