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Active Learning Through STEM
Active Learning Through STEM
Jordan Wootton '15 and Taylor Edwards '15
The Randolph-Macon College
recently partnered with the MathScience Innovation Center to provide a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) lesson in R-MC Professor Diana Yesbeck’s Elementary Science Methods Course.
Guest teacher Donna Kouri serves as K-5 science instructor for the MathScience Innovation Center, which is located in Richmond, Virginia. Kouri visited Yesbeck’s classroom and presented ideas on how to integrate STEM into elementary lessons.
STEM Design Challenge
“Our students read and discuss integrated lessons through coursework, journal articles, and lesson planning,” explains Yesbeck. “However, the STEM lessons enrich and deepen student understanding and mastery of related topics.” This was evident by the STEM activity in which the students participated.
Students were given a variety of everyday materials—string, tape, balloons, straws, and bamboo skewers—and tasked to create a vehicle that transported a written message within an inflated balloon. Once the balloon reached its destination, it had to pop and release the message—all without any human contact once the vehicle was in motion.
Beyond the Traditional Classroom
During the Elementary Education Minor Program of Study, education students participate in many activities outside of the traditional classroom. Yesbeck says this is just one example of active and engaging learning, which promotes communication and collaboration.
“Once the STEM project was explained to the students, the next hour passed quickly as they focused on designing, testing, redesigning, and retesting their products,” says Yesbeck.
Taylor Edwards ’15
minor, used her competitive spirit while engaging in the lesson.
“Not only did I learn about science, but I also learned how to integrate other subjects such as engineering and math into my lesson plans,” says Edwards. “There was a competitive edge to the assignment, and
Jordan Wootton ’15
and I worked together to ensure that our team designed the product that produced the best results. I am very excited about using STEM lessons in my future classroom.”
The R-MC Education Department
With a strong tradition of preparing outstanding teachers, R-MC’s education minor is a Virginia Department of Education approved educator preparation program and is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. The teacher preparation program at R-MC creates reflective, passionate educators who are highly qualified in their content area and in 21st-century teaching skills. Inspired by R-MC’s own dedicated teaching faculty, our graduates bring to their own classrooms a commitment to children, youth, families and diversity.
With the first course in R-MC’s teacher preparation program, students are in the community, working with real students and teachers in local school classrooms. R-MC education courses fully integrate classroom and experiential learning, opportunities for collaborative research, civic and global engagement, personalized guidance, and
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