Silly string, green screens, robots and more kicked off the 2017-2018 STEM Innovation Academy.
On October 3, 2017, 170 elementary and middle school educators from across the district met at the KSU Center. Schools interested in integrating STEM & STEAM practices sent teams of teachers to engage in STEM-related professional development and collaboration. KSU’s iTeach department kicked off the day with an Apps for STEM Throwdown presentation that had the audience cheering as the “loser” got silly-stringed.
Then participants had their choice of twenty-one different session topics ranging from Experience BreakoutEDU to Get Rolling with Spheros to Starting STEM in the Primary Grades. Most of the sessions were facilitated by STEM teacher leaders representing schools across Cobb. Austin Smith, Simpson, helped teachers understand how to use Grand Challenges as an anchor for STEM. Dr. Tamieka Grizzle lead a work session on grant writing to fund STEM learning. Representatives from the Cobb Instructional Technology team, Digital Multimedia Learning team and CTAE department also presented sessions.
Several of the presenters participated in the STEM Innovation Academy last year. They came back to share how they have taken what they learned and applied in their classrooms. McCall Primary teachers, Rachel Luna & Rosemary Rincon, presented sessions on Starting STEM in the Primary Grades to a packed room. Tom Farrell, principal at McCall, came to support his teachers in their first-ever presentation. In addition to the many STEM sessions, participants had their choice of multiple STEAM sessions as well. Laura LaQuaglia, Learning Design & Visual Arts Supervisor, shared several simple strategies to integrate the arts with integrity. A handful of schools were invited to participate in an advanced STEAM strand taking place during the STEM Innovation Academy. Teachers from Ford, Tritt and Mableton spent the morning working with a STEAM consultant from ArtsNow.
The goal of the Innovation Academy is to provide teams from each school with time to develop or refine a vision for STEM at their school, identify needs and resources, and develop a plan for STEM implementation. To this end, teachers spent the afternoon in meaningful collaboration with their teams. Teachers will be meeting three more times this school year to further refine their plan for implementation of STEM in their classroom or school. You can see more images and learning from the day by following @STEMCobb or #STEMCobb on Twitter.
Dr. Sally Creel, Supervisor
STEM and Innovative Practice