Last school year I had the privilege of a Master Papermaker resident artist work-shopping with all my students, kindergarten through 5th grade, teaching them how to make paper from cloth. What was unique about their experience is this particular papermaker uses a Hollander Beater designed to run on bicycle power. The workshops from pulp to paper incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; throw printmaking, print-pulping, photography, and video documentation in there and you have a complete school-wide STEAM package. At our school, the students had an amazing experience but what struck the teachers more was the level of engagement involved with such a simple task as pulping paper with a bicycle. In the school setting, the bicycle-powered beater promotes a more STEM based practice integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Taking it one step further – it connects the student with the physical production of art causing them to be a functioning part of the artistic process. My only drawback with the one-seated bicycle was it eliminated my wheelchair bound students. I have developed a solution for this: Reaching out to a local bicycle maker, I asked him to design a three-seated recumbent bike in which the middle seat is specifically designed to accommodate a wheelchair bound student. His blue print design has been offered pro-bono as an act of human interest and encouragement of the inclusive arts platform. My Project Plan is to develop a traveling paper-making studio to be shared by Cobb County schools. Bringing STEAM to the MAINSTREAM!
Cobb Student Leadership Academy is designed to select twenty innovative and creative student(s) from all over the county with ideas that have unlimited potential to change the district, schools and/or community. Cobb Student Leader Academy will provide an unique opportunity for all stakeholders to help facilitate the growth of innovative ideas from just an idea to an actual product/practice. All students within the county will have an opportunity to submit a project or idea through a competitive application process to become a participant of the Student Leadership Academy 2016-17. Once chosen, the student(s) will be paired with a Cobb teacher mentor(s) who assist in the development of the project. Each mentor teacher will commit to this program for a year to ensure the success of the project. Together, the students and the teacher mentor will research, develop and implement the student’s vision. The Cobb Student Leadership will truly give the students of Cobb a voice and presence in our community.
The goals of the Student Leadership Academy are similar to the goals for any project manager in the professional world. Some of the measurable goals include the following: implementation of a project on time, adhere to any budget requirements, communicate effectively, and demonstrate an impact in the community/school/district. Throughout this process, students will develop leadership skills, strategic planning methods and gain life-changing experiences. Because the students develop the project/purpose on their own, their intrinsic motivation will drive their commitment to completing the project. Participants will be most impacted by having the entire county believe in their idea and the belief that he/she has something real and important to offer the world.
Timeline: January-March: Application process opens March: Teacher mentors are chosen March: Student teams are chosen April-May: Planning Summer Sessions (speakers, activities, location, etc.) June: Student Leadership Academy two week session. September: Implementation October: Monthly Progress Check November: Monthly Progress Check December: Monthly Progress Check/Semester Project Completion January: Monthly Progress Check (yearlong projects) February: Monthly Progress Check March: Project Completion Check April: Celebrations Implementation/Monitoring: The first step of the implementation process is to open the application process to the students which will start in January 2017. The application deadline will in March 2017. A second application process will be opened to prospective teacher mentors for the student leadership candidates. Once the teachers have been selected, the committee will chose the finalist for the academy. The academy will be held over the summer for eight days at a local school (TBD). The first few days will deal primarily with development of leadership skills, conflict resolution, team building and developing an implementation plan for each project. The second week of the academy will focus on implementation plan, resources and community outreach. Prior to leaving the academy, each team will submit a detailed plan and implementation process. As part of monitoring process, the teams are required to meet once a month for progress updates with the entire academy. The teams document the implementation process. Although the mentor teacher and student group have the option to meet as often as they need; however, the stipend will only be paid once a month. Please note that each project may vary in length and level of implementation. At the end of the year, the Student Leader Academy will celebrate the accomplishments of the teams and welcome new members.
K'Nexing Math & Students
Erin Talley, Osborne HS
Somehow mathematics has become the content area that is taught through worksheets and lecture. We show an example and the students repeat the process on their own. Multiple studies, as well as our own student data, has shown that this method does not work. Students dread going to math classes. How can we blame them? Where is the creativity that mathematics came from? Where is the thinking about the hows and the whys that created our amazing subject? Our plan is to have a K’Nex mathematics lab where students for all grade levels will have access to investigative and challenging mathematics content that allows for connections to be made across not only mathematics topics but other content areas as well. Students will use their own ingenuity to build K’Nex models to explore mathematics concepts. Instead of students having to master concepts to be able to do the investigation, students will use their own creativity to discover the concepts they need to solve problems and even create their own problems. Students will become the authors of their mathematics.
Data shows that when students are engaged they are learning. Our own school’s data shows a need for an unorthodox intervention where students can become engaged with mathematics content. Our goal is student success by increasing student engagement and critical thinking. We will use the K’Nex mathematics lab to connect with students and their interests. Students will discover their own questions about the models. Whether it be analyzing the curves of a roller coaster or how much solar power would be needed to support a city, the K’Nex mathematics lab would provide the tools for students to investigate their questions and use mathematics to answer them. The impact of our mathematics lab will be shown over the course of the students’ high school careers. The lab is accessible for all grade level content and students will be able to grow and develop more sophisticated mathematical thinking.
Implementation & Monitoring Our plan is to obtain the materials, develop the lab, and train teachers so that students can use the lab by March of 2017. We will monitor student success through pre and post tests and comparing with a control group. We will also have continued monitoring from year to year as we collect student samples of investigative projects that they complete over their high school career. Our ultimate goal is for students to be able to develop a portfolio that they use throughout all four years of high school for their project based learning experiences.