I was very fortunate to attend the Summer 2018 NASA MEI conference. During this time, I learned various STEM components and improved my knowledge of Aeronautical and Space Science. Prior to attending, I was having trouble trying to figure out how exactly I would incorporate this material in my future classroom. As an English major, these concepts rarely appear, and that is a huge issue.
STEM is in fact so versatile and should be incorporated cross curriculum. It makes learning more personal and fun. As an English teacher, my job does not end when the book is over. Therefore, incorporating STEM goes beyond the book. It places multiple subjects in the students minds and allows them to extend their knowledge rather than just stay at a base level.
Using STEM extends a student’s knowledge and pushes them to think in a way that they can incorporate their knowledge in the real world. Students can build and strengthen writing and literacy skills that will help them in math, science, technology and beyond. One of the most beneficial aspects of STEM is that it pulls knowledge from multiple subjects and allows students to apply it to prior and future knowledge. Through STEM, teachers can guide students to be effective and a contributor as global citizens.
Rebecca Garcia is currently a graduate research assistant in the College of Education and Professional Studies at Sul Ross State University.
One of the STEM literacy examples that Rebecca participated in is the Do You Know That Clouds Have Names activity sponsored by The Globe Program, a global Science and Education Program. To learn more about Globe activities and to become a trained Globe teacher, visit https://www.globe.gov/join/become-a-globe-teacher.
Last week I have learned many different things about NASA, space exploration, and all the different ways I can use these events in my classroom and as an educator. Not only have I learned more about the insides of the NASA organization, I know about NASA’s future goals of going to the moon, Mars, and NASA’s past accomplishments, which could be used as a history lesson of NASA. Also, I have learned how I can use NASA to motivate my students in many ways. For example, I have learned that students that want to be astronauts can learn from current astronauts and see how they were kids just like them at one point in time. Also, I can encourage females in my classroom that they can be scientists as well and work for NASA and could fill many different roles scientists, astronauts, and could even work on the building of the spaceships. Not all people that work at NASA are scientists or doctors. In fact, NASA hires photographers, social media managers, digital designers, etc. I also learned many different experiments and lessons that I can take into my classrooms and help my students explore the different aspects of space and things that relate to space like spaceships, travel to the moon, and future explorations. I can now help bring real science to life through hands on experiences to help them better their understanding of science and how real science works. This past week I have learned so much! I can’t wait to share that with my students and other people that didn’t have the opportunity to do the NASA MEI program.
Elizabeth is hoping to teach kindergarten in the fall of 2018. She incorporated the 5E Instructional Model for student activities during the NASA MEI program.
Today I learned that some of the characteristics that earth has such as wind, volcanos, water, and impacts other terrestrial planets may have the same characteristics. For example impacts which of course are usually the cause of some form of a meteorite that smashes into the ground causing a crater in the surface of the Earth or Mars or the moon. These impacts all have the same characteristics which help you determine that it is in fact an impact.
We were taught different activities to use in our classrooms that show the students these. As well as expanding on using the 5E model lesson plan!
This allows the students to fully be engaged while exploring. The students have the opportunity participate in trial and error. But as along as the students can give solid evidence as to why they think it is an impact or water or wind then there is no wrong answer. Of course if we are talking about the moon then we know there is no water so there are no rivers and there for those would be volcanic lava flows.
Our preservice teachers have the opportunity to apply to be part of the NASA MEI STEM program sponsored by Texas State University and NASA Minority University Research and Education Project. The program is an intensive professional development program that introduces students to the 5E instructional model, STEM integration, and future-ready skill sets to incorporate in the classroom. Each day our preservice teachers are reflection on what they learned at NASA. This is our first reflection from a series of reflections that we will share with you over the the next week.
NASA MEI participant video reflection can be found at https://youtu.be/pbDQcxYlHxo.