1. Christine Schnittka
  2. http://www.auburn.edu/~cgs0013
  3. Associate Professor
  5. Auburn University
  1. Carol Brandt
  2. http://education.temple.edu/faculty/carol-brandt-phd
  3. Associate Professor
  5. Temple University
  1. Tiffany Drape
  2. http://www.alce.vt.edu/people/faculty-staff/drape/drape-bio.html
  3. Senior Research Associate
  5. Virginia Tech
  1. Michael Evans
  2. http://ced.ncsu.edu/user/michael_evans
  3. Associate Professor
  5. North Carolina State University, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation
  1. Brett Jones
  2. http://www.MotivatingStudents.info
  3. Professor
  5. Virginia Tech
  1. Kathy Placek
  2. Graduate Assistant
  4. Auburn University

Studio STEM: Engaging Middle School Students in Networked Science and Enginee...

NSF Awards: 1247287, 1029756

2015 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8, Undergraduate

Studio STEM employs active, inquiry-based learning through engineering design activities to promote conceptual change and problem solving techniques using information and communications technology (ICT). The project aims to engage and encourage rural Appalachian middle grade students to pursue STEM using fundamental concepts in energy conservation and sustainability through an informal design-based studio. This setting allows students to creatively explore and share problems and solutions by documenting their experiences using personal blogs. The project builds on the Save the Animals curriculum, developed in partnership with the Virginia Middle School Engineering Education Initiative, and focuses on solving energy-related problems that explore relevant environmental issues affecting animals and humans.

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Original Discussion from the 2015 Teaching & Learning Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Lisa Hogan

    Lisa Hogan

    May 11, 2015 | 11:32 a.m.

    Students seemed very engaged in the real world scenarios coupled with the use of technologies and an inquiry-based learning focus! Were there any challenges you encountered with setting up and running an after school program such as this? The mentors (college students) seemed like an integral part of the program. How often did the mentors meet with the students? Did the mentors always meet in person with students or did they also meet virtually through Edmodo?

  • Icon for: Christine Schnittka

    Christine Schnittka

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 11, 2015 | 01:37 p.m.

    The biggest challenge at one site was consistent attendance. We decided after that to make the curriculum more global, with stations instead of a linear teaching of lessons. That way, if a student missed a week, they would not be behind. Mentors met with students weekly in person. We had to carry them out to the sites in vans because it was quite a ride into the mountains and not all the mentors had cars.

  • Icon for: Lisa Hogan

    Lisa Hogan

    May 11, 2015 | 03:08 p.m.

    The nonlinear lessons makes a lot of sense. From the video I could see students could miss a week and still be able to move on. Thanks for the added information about transporting the mentors to the sites. I live in Maine, also a very rural area. If we were to do something similar we would also have to transport our mentors.

  • Icon for: Rosi Andrade

    Rosi Andrade

    Associate Research Professor
    May 12, 2015 | 07:18 p.m.

    our project also found the benefit of offering mentors scheduled transportation to the school sites from the university campus.

  • Icon for: Avron Barr

    Avron Barr

    May 13, 2015 | 12:52 a.m.

    Interesting and nicely designed program. Have you any ideas about who might “adopt” this kind of program and how to support its dissemination?

  • Icon for: Christine Schnittka

    Christine Schnittka

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 13, 2015 | 06:52 a.m.

    Yes. The curriculum is free, and we created iBooks as well, with embedded video to show teachers how to lead the activities. We have packaged kits of materials for those needing a ready-to-use kit. See www.stemteachingkits.com to access those materials.

  • Icon for: Elizabeth Hassrick

    Elizabeth Hassrick

    May 13, 2015 | 09:34 a.m.

    Enjoyed the innovation of the units and the interconnected nature of the activities. You mention evidence of learning through nontraditional means. Could you describe this in more detail? Also, how did the Edmodo social networking interface work? It would be great to hear more about how students used their networks to facilitate their learning!

  • Icon for: Michael Evans

    Michael Evans

    May 13, 2015 | 10:11 a.m.

    Let me point you to a few publications and would be happy to follow up to share more:

    Won, S.G., Evans, M.A., Carey, C., & Schnittka, C. (accepted, 2015 publication date). Youth appropriation of social media for collaborative and facilitated design-based learning. To be published in Computers in Human Behavior.

    Schnittka, C., Evans, M.A., Won, S.G.L., & Drape, T. (accepted, 2015 publication date). Studio STEM: Looking for learning in all the right places in after-school spaces. To be published in Research in Science Education.

    Evans, M.A., Won, S., & Drape, T. (2014). Interest-driven learning of STEM concepts among youth interacting through social media. International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, 2(1), 3-20.

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