Our last blog post highlighted some of the challenges teachers face this school year with hybrid and distance learning and as Aimee DeFoe, Principal of Kentucky Avenue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has stated “it’s 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.”
One solution that has been helping teachers during this challenging time is VEX GO – a system that allows for the implementation of integrated STEM learning. Over time STEM education has evolved from four overlapping subjects into a cohesive discipline all its own that is critical to a 21st-century knowledge-based economy. VEX GO brings this discipline to life through a series of STEM labs that utilizes hands-on learning. One example that has been positively received is the Fun Frogs STEM Lab that teaches students how organisms change over their life cycle.
“We watched videos about the life cycle of a frog and had some really great conversations about it. I ended up stretching this to 4 whole classes, so we could really get into things like the habitat,” said Emily Spirk, 5th-grade teacher, Kentucky Avenue Schools.
Teachers love that the open-ended and creative nature of the STEM Lab makes it easy to extend the students’ learning and the kids love that fun nature of the lab.
“The students were cracking up at how funny the frogs looked! But it was really cool that the legs of the frogs they made with the VEX GO pieces actually moved the way real frogs do. Being able to show that to the students was really neat,” said Ms.Spirk.
Fostering student collaboration has been identified as a critical element of successful distance learning.
Joe Edluber, a middle school Makerspace teacher at Greater Atlanta Christian School, describes the STEM lab as a great lesson. “The kids at home are taking turns building a design, then the others can work through and try to recreate it. They’re getting the interaction with peers they’d normally get in the classroom as well as some hands-on design and fun.
Joe’s distance learning classroom was using VEX GO and the VEX GO activities. VEX GO STEM Labs offer teachers complete Units designed for whole-class instruction. Simultaneously, VEX GO Activities extend that learning by allowing students to make their GO builds and kits their own. GO Activities are intended to be used in conjunction with STEM Labs and as stand-alone activities themselves.
Stay tuned over the next few weeks as the VEX Blog will be highlighting how VEX GO can help create meaningful learning experiences in classrooms. We will also be highlighting resources to help you teach 1:1 with VEX GO.