DNA of a STEM School
The STEM Academy at Bartlett
Fox talked about the DNA of a STEM school, wearing a DNA inspired dress to do it. She talked about STEM as a trans-disciplinary approach, and talked about her journey over the last few year as a social science teacher, arguing that STEM had to change year after year.
It was interesting to hear about the journey; how she’d been involved in hiring and creating the team and the changes that had taken place in such a short time. I was interested I want to know more about how to make STEM actually work in a subject orientated culture. Some of the things she stressed were:
- Adaptability. Don’t keep doing things that aren’t working
- Content comes after you teach it for a while
- Rigorous curriculum: Problem solving, trans-disciplinary, story-centred, real world
- A story-centred curriculum
- ‘Tell your story before someone else does it for you’
They set ‘grand challenges’ that run over nine week intervals, solving a problem like creating a ‘planetary rover’, renewing urban infrastructure. They used iTunes U courses and student worked through the course. Students also worked in teams, fostered community involvement and had on-site visits and field trips.
STEM DNA: Design, Narrative, Application
We all know what STEM stands for…Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics…but what does it look like in action? How can you design transdisciplinary, problem based curricula that is unique to your school and community?
Amanda share the narrative of what it’s like to be teacher in a STEM public school; how we began; what is the curriculum, and how in just three years they have evolved to be considered THE top middle grades certified STEM program in the nation. Decode the genome of their transdisciplinary approach, and learn what you can transplant to your own program.
Amanda Fox, Film and Broadcasting Instructor, The STEM Academy (USA)