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How can we instill math and science skills in elementary school students?

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Zachary Azrael

1. In the last week, we solidified our STEM Fair on Wednesday, April 13th and compiled a list of experiments based on the feedback received from our stakeholder interviews.
2. In the upcoming week, we will hold our STEM Fair for elementary students from Cooper Lane Elementary. In addition, with the help of the interview team we hope to determine what types of experiments engage the students well so we can create effective take-home science experiment kits.
3. An obstacle impeding us from accomplishing our tasks is timing. Our STEM Fair will take place while students from Cooper Lane Elementary School are on campus from 2:00-4:00 PM on Wednesday, April 13th with College Mentors for Kids. This timing conflicts with many of our members’ classes and many people are not able to attend and help us run the experiments. We are compensating for this lack of volunteers by having our members take shifts between 2:00-4:00 so we are covered at all times. In addition, mentors from College Mentors for Kids will be volunteering as well.
4. This week our biggest decision is determining how to gauge the success of our upcoming STEM Fair. If we can gauge student interest in our experiments, then hopefully we can learn how to more effectively engage students in STEM inside and outside of the classroom.
5. A high point of this past week was using the information collected from our stakeholder interviews to plan out our entire STEM Fair. A low point this past week was realizing that the time of our STEM Fair would be an issue for many of our members.

2 years ago ·

Zachary Azrael

1. In the last week, we used the information from our interviews to create a list of all the possible experiments that we could use during science day and materials to make the kits we will distribute to schools. These kits would allow students to take home an experiment that they could do at their own home, allowing them to further their interest in the STEM field. We brainstormed with members from the interview team and the implementation team to think of ideas of things that would excite the children about STEM fields.

2. Next week, we hope to finalize which experiments we will conduct at our STEM fair and which materials we want include in the take-home kits. In addition, we want to begin the kit making process. The kit making process will include making videos, instructional pamphlets, and physical kits filled with the necessary materials for each of the experiments.

3. Our biggest obstacles this past week were exams. Most of our members were in the middle of their second round of midterms, making it difficult for everyone to contribute to our brainstorming process. Now that exams are over, however, we will be able to focus on deciding which experiments can best instill young students with an interests in the STEM fields.

4. The big decisions we are making now are what experiments we want to include in our take-home kits. We have a plethora of ideas, and would like to finalize which ones we would like to include in our kits. Next, we need to order the materials and begin the kit making process. Lastly, we must decide whether or not if we will conduct the STEM day before the deadline for the first project. Our team is currently considering whether we should use the kits to gauge the needs of our demographics before the STEM fair, so that we can use the information to make the STEM day more impactful

5. A high point of the past week was creating an extensive list of ideas that we can further develop. A low point of the past week was being unable to hear from as many of our members due to midterm exams.

2 years ago ·

Allison Chen - Thanks for the update!

I'm so excited for the creation of these kits - I'm a big fan of promoting education and I think kits are the best. You can get some inspiration from FOSS (science kits, very curriculum based), Kiwi Crate (multidisciplinary kits to play with at home), and Plus Us (education design consultancy).

Remember that kits are not only about the components but the user experience as well - think about the ideal user flow for kids interacting with the kit step by step, and designate at each step what components will be used. Of course you will have instruction pamphlets but there should be some level of intuition to reduce friction and make the focus on how cool the kit is.

While you are brainstorming for the kits, think about how teachers and parents will also be trained to use them. I talked to a 5th grade teacher in Providence for a design project and she went to a convention where all the teachers did workshops and went through lessons as their students would. So how can you support the facilitator, if there is one?

Before you order materials, make sure to quickly sketch and prototype the kits first so you can visualize your ideas and decide which ones to focus on as well.

It would be great to see the STEM day in the DFA video so that we can see your hard work making an impact, and you can always iterate and run another STEM day to make it even more impactful!

Good luck this week!

2 years ago

Manav Parikh joined the project

2 years ago ·

Ryan Kosmides joined the project

2 years ago ·

Ruby Chervin joined the project

2 years ago ·

Andrew Hamroff

1. In the past week we had a general body meeting to keep our members up to date on the application process, and assess their strengths and points of interest. We also created an initial curriculum, found a tentative venue through College Mentors For Kids, and set up a shared google document to start brainstorming.

2. In the upcoming week, we will be getting interview data from Team 1. We will also continue to brainstorm ideas and gauge which ones will add the most value to our stakeholders.

3. We are waiting on the first round of interviews to be completed; once we have the data from those interviews, we can begin tailoring our resources to best meet the needs of our stakeholders.

4. We are deciding what deliverables we can provide our stakeholders, ranging from a STEM Fair to STEM kits that local elementary students can take home, that will add the most value.

5. The high point of this week was the General Body Meeting where we got everyone together and saw everyone's excitement about this project while also getting started on next steps. The low point was getting a slow start on generating ideas since we didn’t have interview data.

2 years ago ·

Allison Chen - Thanks for the update Andrew!

It sounds like you've made great progress last week, great job getting everyone up to speed on the application process. Making sure everyone understands the goals and timeline as well as their own roles and responsibilities is essential for making sure a team works well together. We're so very excited to hear you have an initial curriculum and tentative venue!

Is it possible to synthesize the data and brainstorm together with Team 1? Because you are both working in the same problem space but in different ways perhaps you can have a meeting with both teams to collaborate, and you may uncover insights and ideas you would not think of with only one team. Since you are both in the same launching DFA Studio, even if you don't work together directly you should definitely share your work with each other and give and receive feedback to help you both move forward.

There are many ways to decide what deliverables you can provide your stakeholders. I'd suggest drawing a matrix with 2 qualifiers, high and low feasibility and high and low impact. Ideally you'd want them to hit high feasibility and impact, so once you brainstorm you can sort your ideas and find that sweet spot to work on.

Good luck this week!

2 years ago

1 person agrees

Alyssa Marshak joined the project

2 years ago ·

Zachary Azrael

1. In the past week, we began researching available venues on campus where we can host students from a local elementary school in collaboration with College Mentors for Kids for a STEM education fair.
2. In the upcoming week, we plan on creating an initial set of curricula that we believe will help keep elementary age students engaged and interested in STEM fields. We also want to try to finalize a venue for our workshop.
3. This past week was spring break and many of our members were traveling/busy, reducing our ability member’s ability to effectively interview our stakeholders. Until our members can interview enough stakeholders, we as a group cannot begin developing a curriculum that caters to their needs.
4. There are two biggest decisions we need to make this upcoming week. First, we need to choose a venue for our STEM education fair. Second, we need to decide how to develop a curriculum with experiments that are both engaging and educational.
5. The high point of this past week was when we discovered that the Stamp Student Union offers venues to students for discounted hourly rates, allowing us to stay within our budget for the STEM educational fair. The low point of this past week was when we were unable to discuss the reservation of a venue with the University of Maryland, as this may require us to rent a more expensive room in the future.

2 years ago ·

Allison Chen - The STEM education fair sounds awesome!

It sounds like your goal is to get logistics together quickly and effectively. Why were you unable to discuss the reservation, is it because the office was closed during spring break? The Stamp Student Union discount sounds like a great opportunity, definitely try and get on that!

There are a ton of great resources and sources of inspiration for STEM education out there! Look into what the Exploratorium in San Francisco does, for example. Also, DFA Virginia Tech does a project for Tech or Treat, an annual, multidisciplinary Halloween event for kids and their families. Check out the event features: http://www.icat.vt.edu/content/tech-or-treat-0 />

Question - what user research are you doing to inform the curriculum for the STEM experiments? Will you make use of the research you're doing in your other project? Let me know and make sure to keep your decisions user-centered!

2 years ago

Jonathan Kalman

1. What did we accomplish in the last week?
2. What will we accomplish in the next week?
3. What obstacles are impeding us from accomplishing our tasks?
4. What are the big decisions we are making right now?
5. What was a high point and a low point of the week?

2 years ago ·

Andrew Hamroff joined the project

2 years ago ·

Zachary Azrael joined the project

2 years ago ·

Allison Chen joined the project

2 years ago ·

Jonathan Kalman joined the project

2 years ago ·

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