Over the past 9 months educators have had to become experts in change as a response to the challenges brought on by the pandemic. While it may have been difficult, teachers and schools around the world rose to the challenge to make sure that essential topics, like STEM, didn’t fall to the wayside.
One such educator is Aimee DeFoe, principal of Kentucky Avenue School (KAS) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. KAS is a small, independent, Kindergarten through 8th-grade school that prides itself on teaching a rigorous curriculum through both traditional and innovative teaching methods. As with many schools, KAS has had to begin this school year with both hybrid and distance learning.
Even through hybrid and distance learning, Principal DeFoe and her staff remained steadfast in their commitment to high-quality instruction and keeping students engaged. “It was crucial to us to continue to provide our students with meaningful opportunities for real-world problem solving and computational thinking even when students were learning at home due to the pandemic,” said Principal DeFoe.
One valuable tool that she came to rely upon was VEX GO which, as she explained, “allowed our students to investigate important STEM topics from home or school and have fun while doing it.”
While fun for the students is obviously paramount,it is also vital that teachers are supported. “The accompanying VEX GO STEM Labs was ideal for facilitating high-quality STEM learning during this time, especially when demands on teachers’ time are greater than ever,” said Principal DeFoe. VEX GO STEM Labs provide teachers with the resources, structure and support necessary to integrate STEM into the learning environment, all the way through planning and into the implementation phase.
In addition to teacher support, VEX Robotics knew that classroom organization was another factor that would be important to educators. Each VEX GO kit comes with pre-sorted and color coded pieces, all of which come in a specialized case to make it as straight-forward and functional as possible. While the design feature was meant to make transportation between classrooms as seamless as possible, it quickly became apparent that the feature was also helpful while trying to teach STEM during a pandemic.
“VEX GO was the perfect choice for hands-on STEM learning during the recent months of hybrid and distance learning. The compact, well-organized kits fit neatly into students’ backpacks for transporting to and from school, and for keeping track of all of the pieces and parts,” said Principle DeFoe of the design.
Over the next few weeks, the VEX Blog will be highlighting how VEX GO has recently been utilized at Kentucky Avenue and other schools. We will also be highlighting resources to help you teach 1:1 with VEX GO.