The staff pick for this blog comes from Joe MacAdam, one of NICERC’s Curriculum Development Specialists.
As a high school math teacher, I was very good at teaching math (shocker!), but dreaded implementing the other subjects into my classroom, especially my most hated subject—English! It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it, but it took so much time and effort to plan and think about how to incorporate the other subjects into my classroom. Every now and then I would include a quick math history lesson, short writing essay, or science word problem, but I could never combine all four into one lesson.
When I discovered the STEM EDA curriculum, I realized that these four subjects could all be wrapped into one lesson, and the best part is that it is already written and resources are available to implement it. It also is very fun and creates a student-driven classroom. The teacher does not do much instruction as the students do most of the work with the teacher’s guidance. The students have a blast going through these lessons because they are very hands-on and have fun activities throughout.
One module that I would like to share is the Aerospace module, specifically the Explore glider portion. This module can be taught for a few days or up to a month in a classroom. The students learn about and create their own gliders and compete to see whose glider travels the furthest.
This module does an excellent job with the science aspect because the students learn all about gravity, lift, drag, kinetic and potential energy, thrust, etc. The students research these topics, test craft stick gliders to see which perform the best, then create a glider that they believe will fly the furthest. The math in this module is solving for kinetic and potential energy of the gliders and the rubber band and how the aspect ratio of the wings affects the flight.
Students learn about the history of gliders and how gliders were used in World War II. They also learn about propaganda during World War II and create their own propaganda to present to their local Veterans of Foreign Wars. Finally, English is incorporated through a presentation that the students create and present to the class about the reason they chose this propaganda, the logic behind their glider design, and what they would have done differently.
This is just one example of a lesson from the STEM: Explore, Discover, Apply middle school curriculum that connects all the subjects together while also being a lot of fun for the students. To gain access to this lesson along with a multitude of other great lessons for middle school and high school classes, click here.