Jenny Mead

Floyd County


Thinking, Innovating and Designing in 2nd Grade

Thinking, Innovating, and Designing in 2nd Grade My problem of practice is how to effectively improve the confidence and ability of primary education students in STEM education. It is estimated that in the next five years, major American companies will need to add nearly 1.6 million STEM-skilled employees (Business Roundtable & Change the Equation, 2014). Labor market data also show that the set of core cognitive knowledge, skills, and abilities that are associated with a STEM education are now in demand not only in traditional STEM occupations, but in nearly all job sectors and types of positions (Carnevale, Smith, & Melton, 2011; Rothwell, 2013). As educators, it is our job to prepare all students for success, Research has consistently shown disparities of STEM access between socioeconomic groups, racial and gender groups, as well as those with disabilities to name a few. “Poor schools” get left behind as their ability to acquire and access resources is limited. This manifests in a lower quality of education, which limits the students’ opportunities and, eventually, career options. Therefore, students in low income schools do not receive equity in access to STEM opportunities. This inequity starts in primary years. Traditionally, elementary school teachers have focused classroom time on literacy and mathematics. The push toward standardized test scores assessments has encouraged this later focus, but it means that in many kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade classrooms science and social sciences gets “short changed”. To implement my strategy I will need 5 Lego Education WeDo sets and 4 replacement packs. Students will create a video to share and explain their learning and designs with others to share on the classroom Facebook page, as well as the school facebook page. Students will also teach another 2nd grade class about their prototypes or their final models. Shared learning will be evident when the student work with a neighboring 2nd grade classroom to teach the students how to use technology, and specifically LEGO software, to investigate, research, design, and defend their project. The LEGO kits will allow personalized learning as students investigate their own research problem and come up with a solution. I will be sure that positive outcomes on these measures are actually do to the invention by administering a pre and post test and analyzing student outcomes. Student confidence will be measured by a pre and post survey of student self-efficacy of STEM projects. Survey will include questions measuring student confidence of STEM projects. Questions will include how students feel about doing other STEM projects, their likelihood to pursue careers in STEM, etc. Students will begin their projects in September, after a pre assessment and pre survey is administered. Teacher will attend the Summit in October to present the project. Students will continue to work on projects, focusing on personalized learning and will wrap up projects in early March. Students will video their projects demonstrating their learning and showing their understanding of the projects. Students will also demonstrate their learning to another second grade class in March. In later March, teacher will administer a post assessment and post survey measuring student confidence. In April, teacher will present the findings at the Spring Summit.