Bringing Science, Technology Engineering, Math and Arts Learning All Together

In our Science Makerspace space, teaching and learning is integrated in a variety of ways.
Science, Technology and Engineering practices are incorporated throughout the centers, Foss Science Kits assigned by the Boston Public Schools Science Department and student experiences. While observing the Science Makerspace, you will see students engaged with more than one science concept and one practice. This also happens outside the East Boston EEC, such as with our recent trip to the Museum of Fine Arts. I have provided photographs and short videos below that capture these practices.

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You might ask why is Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar books and dramatic play area in the space. Literacy, math and lifecycle of the butterfly capture an integrated experience for all learners.

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Children have an opportunity to practice oral language skills, counting, sequencing and writing about their experience at our writing and drawing center. Kids learn best through a project-based approach and hands on experiences. The research indicates that children are more successful in developing their academic and social skills when they engage in project-based learning (PBL).

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Throughout the course of this school year, your Young STEAM Inventor has developed the following Science Practices and Skills:

Science and Engineering

  • Asking questions and defining problems.
  • Developing and using models.
  • Planning and carrying out investigations.
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using math and computational thinking.
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions.
  • Communicating information.

Art, Literacy, and Science

  • Using art as a form of expression and investigation through STEAM
  • Sequencing and counting stones (mathematical skills) after close readings of Diane Alber books (literacy skills)

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Life Science Concepts

  • Observing and communicating that animals and plants have things they need to survive.
  • Recognizing that all plants and animals grow and change over time.

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Earth and Space Science (Grade 1)

  • Using and sharing observations of weather to describe patterns.
  • How plants and animals can change the environment.
  • Gathering information/data about weather forecasting to prepare for, and respond to different types of weather — both here in the United States, and in other countries of the world.

Physical Science

  • Grade 1 – Investigating and recording ideas in their scientific journals that different kinds of materials can be a liquid or solid.
  • K0/K1 and K2 – Comparing the effects of different strengths or directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object (Balls and Ramps Curriculum)

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Below is a video that documents one Young STEAM Inventor’s experiences in physics. This lesson activity went extremely well!

 

Here is another video of students testing their ramp in the Science Makerspace.

A Project I Consult With Wins Big

A project that I have been working on with PBS Twin Cities has recently won an award! Hero Elementary won a Presenter’s Choice Award at the “2019 STEM For All Video Showcase: Innovations in STEM Education” held May 13-20.

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I am extremely excited because I was tapped into the project after showing much enthusiasm for it during a presentation by PBS Twin Cities at MIT. We will be piloting Hero Elementary at the East Boston EEC in Fall 2019.

Here is some additional information about the project, as well as a video you can watch that explains the program:

Hero Elementary is a PBS Kids series and engaging educational media effort focused on improving school readiness in science and literacy for children grades K-2 and their families nationwide, with an emphasis on Latino communities, English Language Learners, youth with disabilities, and children from low-income households.

Hero Elementary’s transmedia universe integrates science and literacy to ignite children’s natural curiosity and broaden their understanding of how the world works and empower them to make a positive difference in their communities. All materials are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. Materials include:

  • animated children’s television episode
  • hands-on science activities and games
  • non-fiction e-books
  • Science Power Notebook where kids create their own content
  • educator guides
  • additional enrichment resources for parents and caregivers

I look forward to using this comprehensive program with our Young STEAM Inventors next school year!

All of This Started With a Belief

Tweny-two years ago, Deborah Meier founded the Mission Hill School, a small Boston Public School located in Jamaica Plain. She hired me to teach at Mission Hill, which was noble because that founding year was also my first year as a teacher. Both Deborah Meier and Dr. Theresa Perry have been my mentors throughout my years of teaching. They both honored and encouraged my out-of-the-box teaching and willingness to take risks in education, in addition to the importance I placed on families, communities, and democracy. Because Deborah and Theresa believed in me, I was able to grow and to make mistakes, knowing that they would both catch me when I fell. These are the same values I instill in each of my students at the East Boston Early Education Center. I also continue to use the “Mission Hill Habit of Mind and Work” in the Science Makerspace. 

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Please take a listen to this recent Ethics in Education Network podcast featuring my mentor, Deborah Meier. She talks about what makes a good school and building and maintaining trust and mutual respect.

Sharing Resources for STEM and Early Childhood Education

For my readers who are educators:  I hope you enjoyed National Teacher Appreciation Week last week and truly felt appreciated by someone in a special way! The work that we do is very important, and so I wanted to be sure to share some resources that teachers and families can use to keep enriching the lives of young students.

On STEM Education

  1. The Captain Planet Foundation recently launched a new app to promote environmentalism. Download it today from the App Store and Google Play!
  2. 8 Eye-Opening Ways Kids Benefit From Experiences With Nature by Christopher Bergland for Psychology Today
  3. The Value of Tinkering by Aaron Schomburg for Scientific American
  4. How To Pick a Great Educational Science Toy by Ben Newsome for Fizzics Education
  5. Girl Scouts Add 30 New Badges in Robotics, Science and Engineering by Nicole Lyn Pesce for New York Post 
  6. Will K-12 Students Be Ready For the Technology of the Future? by Kelly Konrad for EdTech Magazine
  7. What Really Keeps Girls of Color Out of STEM? by Emilio Pack for Education Week
  8. Study Confirms Project-Based Learning Has a Positive Impact On How Students Learn Science and Math by Dr. Kerry Speziale for DefinedSTEM

On Early Childhood Education

  1. We Need to Make Kindergarten Engaging Again by Dr. Christopher Brown for Psychology Today
  2. Best Children’s Books Of the Year by Bank Street College of Education
  3. The 17 Picture Books of 2019 That You Need on Your Child’s Shelf by Alessia Santoro on Pop Sugar

April 2019: Spring Is In the Air

I hope you are enjoying your April Vacation thus far! With the week winding down, I wanted to make sure I provide my readers with some additional recommendations for having a fulfilling week.

It’s a Celebration

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The Cambridge Science Festival is an annual celebration of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) in our lives, particularly here in the Boston area. This 10-day festival ends this upcoming Sunday, April 21, so be sure to check out their Events Calendar to find out which events you should attend with your young student!

National Poetry Month 2019

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April is National Poetry Month! Check out this list of multicultural books of poetry curated by Colors of Us. Also, please visit the Colors of Us website for recommendations on multicultural books, multicultural toys, and multicultural clothing.

Speaking of Book Recommendations

Early this month, the A Mighty Girl blog published an article entitled “The Mother-Daughter Pilot Team Breaking the 30,000-Foot Glass Ceiling Together”. Do read this article to learn more about these women’s stories, and to get book recommendations for children’s books about pioneering female pilots. Subscribe to the A Mighty Girl newsletter to receive emails about blog articles and other updates.

A Lovely Letter About Why We Read, Just In Time for Literacy Night

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Literacy Night at the East Boston EEC is happening Wednesday, April 3, 2019 (update). I recently came across a letter on Brainpickings that illustrates the remarkable power of literacy, and thought this would be a great time to share it with my YSI readers. Please enjoy the reading below, along with images of our Young STEAM Inventors sharpening their literacy skills in the Science Makerspace.

This excerpt can be found in the article “A Velocity of Being: Illustrated Letters To Children About Why We Read by 121 of the Most Inspiring Beings In Our World”.

Thank you,

~Alicia

 

When asked in a famous questionnaire devised by the great French writer Marcel Proust about his idea of perfect happiness, David Bowie answered simply: “Reading.”

Growing up in communist Bulgaria, the daughter of an engineer father and a librarian mother who defected to computer software, I don’t recall being much of an early reader — a literary debt I seem to have spent the rest of my life repaying. But some of my happiest memories are of being read to — most deliciously by my grandmother. I remember her reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to me, long before I was able to appreciate the allegorical genius of this story written by a brilliant logician.

 

 

My grandmother, an engineer herself, had and still has an enormous library of classical literature, twentieth-century novels, and — my favorite as a child — various encyclopedias and atlases. But it wasn’t until I was older, when she told me about her father, that I came to understand the role of books in her life — not as mere intellectual decoration, but as a vital life force, as “meat and medicine and flame and flight and flower,” in the words of the poet Gwendolyn Brooks.

My great-grandfather had been an astronomer and a mathematician who, in the thick of Bulgaria’s communist dictatorship, taught himself English by hacking into the suppressed frequency of the BBC World Service and reading smuggled copies of The Catcher in the Rye, Little Women, The Grapes of Wrath, and a whole lot of Dickens and Hemingway. This middle-aged rebel would underline words in red ink, then write their Bulgarian translations or English synonyms in the margins. By the time he was fifty, he had become fluent. When his nine grandchildren were entrusted to his care, he set about passing on his insurgent legacy by teaching them English. When the kids grew hungry during their afternoon walks in the park, he wouldn’t hand out the sandwiches until they were able to ask in proper Queen’s English.

 

 

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