Session: Teaching STEM Through Service-Learning
Marilyn -Elder- State education director for learn and serve program in Virginia
Teri Dary- Wisconsin state department of education; coordinates and oversees Learn and Serve grants
Session Description: Service-learning engages diverse learners by providing a meaningful context in which to apply STEM knowledge and skills, and shows great promise in helping schools close the achievement gap and develop 21st century skills. Participants will learn how the teaching methodology of service-learning can help transform STEM classrooms where students are challenged to use their skills to address community issues. Participants will learn specific strategies for incorporating meaningful service-learning into the STEM curriculum.
My thoughts in ALL CAPS
How does service learning fit into STEM and how does service learning fit educationally?
Service learning is a broader term for doing service projects- pedagogy to teach academic skills; after school clubs
Process that students go through to focus on a situation that students are concerned about
Focus on 21st century skills; the need to develop more globally prepared citizens in the education arena
What do we need to do differently? What new things do we need to bring into our classroom?
What is that we (as teachers) need to do differently in order to get at 21st century skills? Watching a clip from A Bug’s Life to discuss this. Example showed reassurance when taking risks; providing active guidance; being adaptable in the learning
How does the student role look differently? Have to THINK; not just regurgitating facts; possible higher level of motivation/ engagement; uncomfortable to a certain extent- make it just a little too hard
Knowledge isn’t a “silo” process- it is integrated- think of other experiences they have had- other things they have learned along the way. INTERESTING TAKE ON THE SILO METAPHOR- A SILO STORES ALL BY ITSELF AND INSTEAD WE NEED TO BE WORKING TOGETHER. NOT A METAPHOR I'VE HEARD BEFORE.
Dagget’s acquisition compares to volunteering in a service world
Assimilation compares with community based learning
Application compares with Community Service
Service Learning compares with Adaptation
They are using service learning to learn and apply skills they are learning in classroom
It is real world application of skills learned in the classroom when done well
When done well service learning has a tremendous impact on student learning- when not done well it can actually have a bad impact. I THINK THIS WOULD GO FOR JUST ABOUT ANY TYPE OF LEARNING- IF DONE WELL IT IS A HUGE IMPACT.
Three general impacts on student learning
1) Academic- they learn deeper; test scores go up; students learn more in less time- because learning is so much deeper and students can transfer the skills they are learning you have to less reteaching
2) Social/ emotional impact- character education skills; attendance goes up; drop out rates go down; teen pregnancy prevention- service learning had a positive effect on pregnancy rates
3) Civic understanding- connection between self and community. THIS SEEMS TO ME TO BE A HUGE AREA FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS. THEY FEEL THAT PERSONAL CONNECTION (FROM A COMMUNITY STANDPOINT) AND THUS ARE MORE ENGAGED.
“Those that have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action.” I COULD SEE MYSELF USING THIS QUOTE WITH MY STUDENTS.
Service learning studies are across the board showing gains- not just from a program
o Duration and intensity
o Link to Curriculum
o Meaningful Service
o Youth Voice
o Progress Monitoring
Boldfaced items had most impact
Partnerships and youth voice were the next most impactful
Being intentional and direct in linking to the curriculum- use backward design. TO ME THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT BECAUSE YOU ARE STRESSING THE CURRICULAR CONNECTIONS OF SERVICE-LEARNING
Set your context to meet instruction goals then “open” it as far as you can go. ALSO IMPORTANT START SMALL AND START FOCUSED AND THEN ALLOW KIDS TO EXPAND IT
Service learning connects to the scientific method
Blending the four curricula Science Technology Engineering Math
MOST OF THE SESSION TIME WAS SPENT EXPLAINING SERVICE-LEARNING WITH THIS CONNECTION TO STEM. TOWARD THE END WE SPENT SOME TIME DISCUSSING SOME SPECIFIC EXAMPLES WHICH I FOUND VERY HELPFUL. I'D HAVE LIKED TO HAVE SPENT MORE TIME WITH EXAMPLES.
Examples of service learning using STEM-
1) planting flowers- investigating native flowers, how to build in various areas, what shape planters
2) organizing litter clean-ups- graphing study results, where to build litter spots
Actual scenario: Staunton, Virginia
7th grade life science class
What is in the creek?; where does the creek go when it leaves the school grounds? Mapped the creek as it went through town- kids wanted to find out what was there- used water monitoring equipment; looked at biotic flora, macro invertebrates, chemical water analysis (pH, DO, alkalinity, etc); also did some investigation- history- found out that in town there was a factory that dumped into the creek; length of study?
THIS WAS A TERRIFIC EXAMPLE HOWEVER I'D HAVE LIKED TO HAVE SEEN SOME LESS TIME EXTENSIVE, SHORTER EXAMPLES THAT I AND OTHERS COULD HAVE USED TO BEGIN SERVICE-LEARNING WITH STUDENTS.