CEI Visits Chesterfield Academy

By Nick Jones, CEI Intern

Last month, the CEI team of Dr. Chris Mason, Liz Parry, and Sue Mullane visited Chesterfield Academy to offer solutions on how to integrate engaging STEM learning moments in curriculum. There, teachers fossilized seashells, constructed a tower of index cards, and launched paper-and-straw rockets ‘“ all in the name of science.

Chesterfield Academy represents the growing trend in institutions focusing on STEAM learning (science, technology, applied arts, and mathematics). Students at the Norfolk, VA school learn material in hands-on activities that allow them to think with a more multidimensional perspective. Likewise, project-based learning promotes teamwork and transforms textbook concepts into reality.

There are several resources for educators to consult when looking for fun and exciting ways to learn about science.

Tower-of-Power-2

On Pinterest for instance, there’s a ‘pin’ for using vegetable and fruit in scientific experiments like using a potato to conduct electricity.

For a more all-encompassing lesson, consider a CSI-type activity where students explore forensic science, scientific procedures and protocol, problem solving and even some math. Additionally, activities with many parts allow students to apply other academic concepts like writing. Recording quantitative data often involves math and recording qualitative data requires writing.

Furthermore, a three-circle Venn diagram created by Stanford University researcher Tina Cheuk, finds fundamental similarities between math, science, and English Language Arts standards.

  1. In both science and ELA standards, students are expected to ‘obtain, evaluate, and communicate information.’

  2.  In both science and math standards, students are expected to ‘develop and use models.’

  3. In both math and ELA standards, students are expected to ‘use technology and digital media strategically and capably.’

The National Education Association (NEA) also has dozens of resources for both student activities and professional development activities, an integral part of facilitating hands-on learning. There are also thousands of free science materials like posters, stickers, and lenticulars. A google search will pull up free resources from organizations like Scholastic and the National Institutes of Health.

For more information about Chesterfield Academy, click here.

References

Teamwork makes the STEAM dream work!. (2014, September 4). Retrieved 2014, from http://schools.nps.k12.va.us/ches/2014/09/04/steam-professional-learning/

Heitin, L. (2014, October 1). Finding Overlap in the Common Math, Language Arts, and Science Standards. In Curriculum Matters. Retrieved 2014, from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2014/10/finding_overlap_in_the_common.html