Tara Howard

Tara Howard


Full Steam Ahead

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Preparing our students for a global economy

Area of Focus:
As a concerned parent, educator, and citizen of a low-income community, I am interested in increasing the number of students ready for the future workforce. Statistics released by the U.S. Department of Education project STEM/STEAM jobs to grow 14% from 2010 to 2020. One Georgetown University study suggests that 55 million jobs in STEM/STEAM fields are expected to be unfilled in the near future. These jobs will most likely be outsourced to individuals across the globe having obtained the skills necessary for high productivity. It is my belief that exposure at an early age will help to increase interest and success in STEAM related careers.

In addition, I believe STEAM activities will increase student engagement and achievement in content areas. The use of a STEAM curriculum has been linked to a positive impact on problem solving skills and creativity.

Research Question:
How will the implementation of a STEAM curriculum in an elementary classroom affect student achievement, engagement, and aspirations?

I plan to measure student achievement using quantitative assessment data obtained from colleagues during PLC meetings. For an additional measure, I will compare students’ data from the previous school year as baseline data to current school year data, post-implementation. Analysis of scores will be an indicator of success.

Student engagement will be measured using qualitative data from observation documentation, interviews, and/or surveys.
Career aspirations near the end of school year will be compared to data from survey administered at the beginning of the school year. Any increase in the interest of STEAM careers will be noted. Student interviews may also take place to evidence reasoning behind any changes.
Students will use items purchased with grant money to complete a series of STEAM lessons by early Spring 2018. Items to be purchased include, but are not limited to:
1. Lego/ Lego Wedo products
2. Robotics kit(s)
3. Breakout kit
4. Drone technology
5. Coding products