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Topic: True STEM Preparation?
Replies: 8   Last Post: Sep 18, 2012 10:54 AM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: True STEM Preparation?
Posted: Sep 16, 2012 9:53 PM
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Wayne Bishop posted Sep 16, 2012 9:30 AM:
> For the uninitiated, STEM, means Science, Technology,
>Engineering,and Mathematics with a strong national push >for properly educating many more US students to be >competitive in these areas and, of necessity, the >teachers to meet that need.
>Focus on the essential mathematics, careful reading, and >science courses? How simplistic; that's what Legos are >for. Crossfile under, "some things that are impossible >to make up" and "some things that are impossible to >parody".

On carefully reading through the item that Wayne disparages, "Forest Heights eighth-grader plans free Lego robotics camp for STEM education",

- - on reading through that item, I find absolutely nothing to carp about. So I am posting the text of the news item here (with the suggestion to readers that they should look through the original.
Last year, he collected stories from his classmates and self-published a book to sell, donating about $250 in profits to the Oregon Food Bank. He called his project Writing Away Hunger, and he plans to do it again this year.

He also knows a lot about robotics. He's been on a Lego robotics team since he was 6 years old, spending two to three hours per week working on projects. Last year, the team's nine local students took second place in design at the North American First Lego League Open held at Legoland in California.

"Robotics helps prepare you for a job in the future," said Ioffe. "You learn programming, and because you are focused on teamwork, it teaches you how to work with people."

Ioffe, with help from his teammates, dad and coach, has already developed a curriculum and tested it on younger children at a camp in July.

"We did a test run to see how we could improve the curriculum, what to add and how we could focus on kids 9 to 14," he said. He wanted to debut his camp in August, but not enough students signed up for the week it was offered.

That didn't discourage Ioffe, who figures the timing was difficult because of summer vacation. With school starting again, he's focused on communicating with schools and offering the camp as an option during winter or spring break.

The camp will be free to those who sign up, Ioffe said, and he's setting the ratio at three students for every teacher. "The smaller size group you have, the easier it is to learn," he said.

Members of his team are set to teach those who attend. Ideally, Ioffe said, the camp will be a "prep so that the kids who attend can create their own team when they're done."

Meena Kandaswamy, whose daughter, Akhila, is part of the team, said Ioffe was passionate about this project. "He's only in eighth grade, but he took the initiative to create this forum for kids who haven't been exposed to robotics before," she said.

Ioffe sees that his project can have a reach far beyond the students who may attend his camp. He is developing a website that will "open source the curriculum as a resource for teachers to use when teaching STEM classes to their students."

The website offers Ioffe the opportunity to reach anyone anywhere who has a connection to the Internet, helping him spread the idea of robotics as a great way to learn math while having a lot of fun.

-- Cindy Hudson

Does Wayne want to claim that the initiative shown by that 13-year old student to help raise his peers' interest in "Science-Technology-Engineering-Math" (yes, STEM) would mitigate IN ANY WAY against the values that he (Wayne) claims he wishes to promote, namely - "Focus on the essential mathematics, careful reading, and science courses"???

I'm no STEM fanatic as I know very little indeed about the details.

However, on reading some of these silly critiques that we see here, I would tend to agree with Wayne Bishop that:

"some things are impossible to parody".

("Still Shoveling Away!")

------- End of Forwarded Message

Message was edited by: GS Chandy

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