• 1.    Design Lab

    Submitted by: Fred Major and Bryan Rosenstiel (MBHS)

    With the advent of the new Engineering Your World class coming in the 2016-17 school year and coupled with multiple AP Computer Science classes, students at the high school will now have the place and means to be inventive and innovative at Mountain Brook High School: The Design Lab. Students have an opportunity to connect the dots of relevance of all of their courses in the implementation of the engineering design process. Students will model and program. 3D Printers will allow the students to produce their designs and put them in their hands and test them. Giving students the ability to prototype designs is key to testing the design’s functional implementation. The students will learn how to program computer/mechanical devices to perform a particular task, and construct and operate a self-contained robotic device. Principles of ambulation and degrees of motion will be investigated. Limitations on hardware and software will be explored. The students will attempt autonomous control.

    2.     Mission Collaboration: Enrichment for ALL

    Submitted by: Katy Caughran (BWF)

     Last school year I worked with a committee of dedicated teachers to get Institute for Innovation off the ground. Mandi Lybrand and I then worked passionately on a grant proposal. It was generously accepted and we experienced Confratute to begin our research process for the best way to provide enrichment for all of the elementary students in our district.  I now have the opportunity  to extend the experience of Confratute to all PAGE teachers in MBS and take the next steps in the research process.

     Confratute is UCONN”S Education Conference at NEAG Center for Talent Development in Storrs, Connecticut. You may have heard UCONN mentioned recently in MBS. One of the top experts on creativity and a Professor of Educational Psychology in the NEAG School of Education at UCONN, Dr. Ron Beghetto,  is giving the keynote presentation at the 2016 MBS Summer Learning Conference. We would like to meet with Dr. Beghetto at Confratute, a week prior to our MBS learning conference, and help him to form and plan breakout sessions for all teachers in our district and make the most of his visit. Confratute’s main focus is “First and foremost, our focus is on differentiation of instruction, high‐end learning, and enrichment teaching.   We believe that all students can benefit from enjoyable and challenging learning opportunities; that learning is maximized when we consider each student’s abilities, interests, learning styles, and preferred modes of expression.”  

    The experience truly impacted the way I work with students, awakened in me a new love of learning and pushed me to work even more intently on my goal of truly providing an effective, challenging and engaging education for every one of our students. All PAGE teachers will now get to experience Confratute together and collaborate on ways to enrich the learning of each and every student.

    3.   “STEAM Powered” Mobile Science and Engineering Lab

    Submitted by: Amy Anderson (CES)

     Daniel H. Pink, author of A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, states, “the future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: designers, inventors, teachers, and storytellers: creative and empathetic ‘right brain’ thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn’t.” Many teachers are looking for ways to integrate more rigorous activities that will prepare our students for this future. Countless articles and research have suggested that students need to be taught critical thinking and problem solving coupled with the latest computer technology in order to be competitive job seekers. A thoughtfully designed STEAM Lab (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math Lab) is a perfect “incubation” area for our students to fashion these skills. The goal of STEAM learning is to promote flexibility and problem solving while allowing students the opportunity to make mistakes. From these mistakes, students learn what doesn’t work, research alternate solutions, improve their original plan, and test their redesigns.

    Our goal is to create a STEAM Lab for students and teachers to easily access materials and provide professional development support for teachers to implement STEAM activities in their classrooms. Since our school does not currently have an extra space that could be a dedicated lab, we plan to utilize a mobile learning lab that can be stocked with specific supplies and technology needed to implement lessons within any classroom. We also have a unique co-teaching model in 4th grade that would allow one of our teachers the flexibility in her daily schedule to act as a “coach” for these activities. This proposal also includes professional development for this teacher to become STEAM certified (www.steamedu.com). Through this model, teachers who may normally be intimidated by the technology required to implement STEAM lessons would be guided through the process in a co-teaching format, ultimately empowering the classroom teacher to facilitate lessons on their own. The STEAM materials that we are proposing come with curriculum and activities that address multiple standards across many content areas and incorporate the engineering and design process. The use of these materials and the nature of the activities provide opportunities where students can be innovative and resourceful, build off the ideas of others, identify challenges, solve problems, take risks, foster creativity and curiosity, and instill a “growth mindset.”