My STEM Units

Thursday, October 29, 2015

STEM Family Challenge: November


STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, is a term used by teachers to encompass lessons and projects which include these subjects.  STEM does not just happen at school. In fact, STEM can be very effective, engaging, and fun at home.  


STEM Family Challenge: November

November is Native American Heritage Month. Click here for the Native American Heritage Month website. Along with resources for teachers/families, they also have an interactive game where you can choose your own adventure and follow a Cheyenne tribe. (very, very cool!)




**Disclaimer: I have lived with, taught beside, learned from, loved deeply, cried alongside, and laughed with Native Americans for over 9 years. My own children have been raised and schooled on the reservation and know more Apache words than I do. I have seen many Native American "lessons" in the past, however I feel they denigrate Native American traditions and peoples. Let's move past the paper bag "leather vest" lessons.

My STEM Family Challenge for November is to honor Native American traditions and tradesmen. You might be wondering where you can go to get information on traditional trades. I have compiled a list of resources to inspire you and your children. You never know, you may find a new favorite author.

Books as Resources




I have used Michael Lacapa books in my classroom every year. Mr. Lacapa was a very talented Native American author/illustrator. Unfortunately, "Little Blue Bird" passed away too young, but, his books have become his legacy. Of all his books, The Flute Player is perhaps my favorite. I dare you not to cry.

For those who prefer novels, I suggest Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins or Elizabeth George Spear's Sign of the Beaver.

Challenge: make a flute, make a canoe, or make a bow and arrow.

Maker Sites as Resources


loom on instructables.com 

Use Maker Space websites, such as DIY.org to find a new engineering challenge. Want to learn how to bead? Look it up! Want to learn how to weave a dream catcher, find it here!

Another Maker site is Instructables.com There, you can learn everything from basket weaving to looms. You can even learn how to do the Hoop Dance.

If you wish to have your project displayed, email a pic of your project and the STEM Reflection Sheet to me at STEAMingAheadWithSusan@gmail.com .  With your permission, I will post your pic!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Architecture of Accomplished Teaching

The Architecture of Accomplished Teaching.  National Board candidates and teachers know this double helix well.  They are accustomed to using the upward spiral to impact student learning.  I would like to posit that National Board candidates use the highly reflective practice when reflecting on their own journey to certification.

http://boardcertifiedteachers.org/

When accomplished teachers look at the architecture for their students, they start with their students.  Who are they?  Where are they now?  

Then, said teachers set high goals that are appropriate to those students at that time.  As the teachers deliver instruction, they are constantly revisiting the goals and the student.  Is the student making progress?  If not, where is the breakdown?  

Through reflection, the accomplished teacher sets new goals and the upward spiral continues.  

But, what about using the architecture on yourself?  Is it not true that you, a National Board Candidate, looked yourself in the proverbial mirror one (or more) years ago and asked yourself, "Who am I?  Where am I now?  What are my goals?"

No doubt you had several conversations with yourself and maybe even with an advisor; a confidant.  You set worthwhile goals and you worked hard to achieve them.  Hard.  "National Board Certification is easy," said no teacher ever.

Through deep reflection, you honed your craft, tweaked your practice.  It is safe to say, you are not the same teacher you were a year ago.  And here's the beautiful thing: you never will be the same, just as the butterfly cannot become a caterpillar again.  You are transformed.  

And here we sit.  Waiting for "score release".  The day you thought would never come.  The wait will probably seem like an eternity.  Might I suggest you use this time to thank the people who helped you come so far?  Maybe your family really stepped it up and took over household chores while you typed. and typed. and typed.  Maybe it was a colleague who listened.  A mentor who guided.  No matter the scores tomorrow, you know you could not have come so far were it not for them.

But, what happens after score release?  For some, it will be the affirmation of a lifelong passion.  Certification.  How wonderful that must feel.  

For others, it will be the realization that there is still more mountain to climb.  The double helix continues upwards.

Advanced Candidates, don't look at your score as something that is "less than".  Look at it as "more than".  More than it was a year ago.  

What do we do as accomplished teachers?  We look at our students where they are now.  Look at yourself.  You have come so far.  Where are you now?  Where do you want to be?  Look at your scores.  Where is there room for improvement?  For me, it was Entry 4: Documented Accomplishments and two assessment center exercises.  Yes, I too, was an Advanced Candidate.

Set a worthwhile goal for yourself.  Work to achieve that goal and reflect on your practice as you continue to move up that double helix.  Continue climbing until you have reached that summit!  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Happy Hexaflexagon Day!


flickr: J. Nathan Mathias

Happy Hexaflexagon Day!

What?! You didn't know it was Hexaflexagon Day?! You didn't see the commercials, hear the hexaflex music, and buy a card?!

I know. Not many people know about hexaflexagons, let alone Hexaflexagon Day. But, they will.

You are probably thinking, "hex-a-what-now?". Watch this video:


Ok, cool, but where is this talk of a day dedicated solely to hexaflexagons?

Watch this video:


Inspired? Intrigued? I am too!

I have to admit that I jumped on the hexaflexagon train a little late. I don't have any great lessons or pics. I do know this:
  • You can search for hexaflexagon templates. There are a bazillion. Some even in color. Find one you like, print it, and fold away!
  • You can search lesson plans for hexaflexagons. Although almost every lesson plan has these two videos in them.
  • You can let the students free-explore! Show these videos to your students. (have an unplanned indoor recess today? Show the videos!) Put out some scratch paper, scissors, and crayons. 
  • Post your students' pics/videos to social media. I would also LOVE to see what your kids discover! If you wish to have your pics displayed here, email them to me at STEAMingAheadWithSusan@gmail.com  .
Happy folding!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

National Farm to School Month

October is usually filled with thoughts of pumpkins, candy, and leaves changing colors.  But, did you know that October is also Farm to School Month?  Farm to School Month is "a time to celebrate the connections that are happening all over the country between schools and local food" (www.farmtoschool.org).  It doesn't get more local than a school garden.  



Why a School Garden

Classrooms are moving back to integrated studies.  This can be done in the classrooms (reading about science concepts, for example) and outside the classroom (measuring the heights of various corn stalks).  Much research has been been on the subject....of integrated subjects:

  • "Students who participated in garden-based learning programs showed higher test scores in science and increased food knowledge" (edutopia).
  • "Garden-based learning has been linked with higher levels of science achievement" (edutopia).

Our Garden



Last year, students and parents built a STREAM Garden at our school.  STREAM stands for Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math.  Students engineered the benches used for reading and writing in the garden.  Parents built the raised beds; one for each teacher.  Community members donated seedlings and seeds from their personal gardens.  The local farm sent a farmer to work with students weekly and teach them about soil, veggies, and the importance of healthy eating.  Teachers taught/enhanced math lessons in the garden.  Visitors scanned the QR codes on each bed to view videos about what is growing in the beds.  And grow they did.

In it's inaugural year, the STREAM Garden produced The Three Sisters (corn, beans, and squash), salsa (tomatoes, peppers, and onions), roots (carrots and radishes), and flowers (sunflowers and snapdragons).  And that's just the beginning.  Students are already planning what they want to plant next spring.  



How We Will Celebrate Farm to School Month

Our school has partnered with Food Corps (a division of Whole Foods Market) to:
  • Support indigenous foods knowledge, growth and re-introduction
  • Prevent hunger and food insecurity
  • Increase local food production, distribution and access
  • Promote healthy nutrition and fitness across the lifespan
To celebrate Farm to School Month, we will have a Garden Party with all 8 Food Corps Teachers across the state!  This isn't your grandma's garden party.  This Garden Party is going to be STEM-tastic!

  • Students will build an additional compost bin out of pallets and stakes.  
  • Students will build an additional raised bed as our ancillary teachers and resource teachers are wanting their own raised beds as well.
  • Students will harvest the above-ground produce (corn, squash, bean, peas, tomatoes, etc.).
  • Students will top off the raised beds with fresh topsoil and fill the new bed with topsoil.
  • Students will paint rocks to inspire hope for the future.
  • Students will go on a garden-themed scavenger hunt.


How You Can Celebrate Farm to School Month

There are as many ways to celebrate as there are farms and schools.  The National Farm to School Month website offers suggestions for those just getting started.  Arizona Department of Education also offers suggestions and resources.  

STEM Family Challenge: October


STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, is a term used by teachers to encompass lessons and projects which include these subjects. STEM units usually start with a problem.  The teacher guides the students through discovery and experimenting to find solutions.  STEM does not just happen at school. In fact, STEM can be very effective, engaging, and fun at home.  

At my school, I present a STEM Family Challenge each month.  Families take the challenge, complete a reflection sheet, and earn a $20 gift card to local businesses (bowling alley, movie theatre, miniature golf, etc.).  I would like to offer the STEM Family Challenge to you as well.  Although I can't offer you a gift card, I can put your name in lights HTML.  


STEM Family Challenge: October

Fire Prevention Week is October 4th-10th this year.  “Nearly 3,000 people continue to die in fires each year, with most of those deaths occurring in homes,” said Carli from the National Fire Prevention Association. “The vast majority of home fire deaths are preventable, and working smoke alarms play a big role in helping reduce those numbers.” 


http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/fire-prevention-week 


"Smoke alarms can make a life-saving difference in a fire, but they need to be working,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Unfortunately, many home fire deaths result from fires where a smoke alarm is present but does not operate." This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme focuses on putting a smoke alarm near every bedroom.




According to NFPA statistics:
  • Having a working smoke alarm in the home cuts the risk of dying in a fire in half.
  • On average each year, three out of five home fire deaths result in fires where there are either no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • In one-quarter (23 percent) of the home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound.

What You Can Do: Engineer a Solution


Using items around the house, 

  • design a smoke detector, or
  • design a device that will remind people to check their smoke detectors

See example below for inspiration. Have FUN!


If you wish to have your name in lights HTML, email a pic of your project and the STEM Reflection Sheet to me at STEAMingAheadWithSusan@gmail.com .  With your permission, I will post your pic!

Want more info?

Info for Teachers

Info for Families

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

After-School STEM Club Resources

Ahh, Labor Day is behind us and a new school year awaits us. Time for teachers to label desks, folders, bins, and notebooks. Time for students to gear up for success. And, time for after-school clubs to commence.

The After-school Alliance recently released data on after-school STEM Clubs.

afterschoolalliance.org 


Their report, titled "Full STEM Ahead", makes the following recommendations:

  • engaging & educating parents about the importance of afterschool STEM
  • increasing technology and engineering programming
  • strengthening & increasing STEM community partnerships 
  • improving assessment measures; and 
  • increasing investment in afterschool programs. (Full STEM Ahead)
This is great news for kids. But now, teachers are left to create STEM curriculum for their after-school clubs. This can be especially difficult for teachers who teach all day and don't have time to scour the internet for lessons. There are many great programs out there. Here are a few of my favorites:




Engineering is Elementary (EIE) has a mission to "support educators and children with curricula and professional development that develops engineering literacy" (eie.org) Personally, I have worked with EIE for years and have found it very user-friendly. In fact, I am honored to say I have been chosen by EIE to pilot a new unit this fall (available for download next year).

EIE offers many products, but specifically for this purpose, they have after-school curriculum. Engineering Adventures is a FREE after-school curriculum for grades 3-5. Engineering Everywhere is a FREE after-school curriculum for middle and high school students.

Students meet two characters, Indie and Jacob, and help them solve problems around the world. The curriculum has intro lessons if your students are new to engineering. Each lesson has an audio file (or the new ones have videos) that capture your students' attention and guide them through activities. Many of the lessons have optional online components. In addition to downloading the FREE teacher guide, you can also download a FREE student journal, where students are encouraged to diagram their designs and work through the engineering design process. The only cost you may incur is for supplies, but you will find that you have many of the supplies already lying around your classroom/school. If not, many are household items that the students can bring to school.




diy.org

DIY.org is not an official after-school STEM curriculum. However, I have used their challenges for out-of-school learning.

I recently wrote a blog post on DIY.org. They have a bazillion challenges for students. Students choose which ones appeal to them and work towards those goals. When they complete the challenge, they can purchase a badge (yes, a real badge) for $4.

DIY.org also offers "camps". Camps cost about $10 each. However, if you can get $5 off when you use this link: https://goo.gl/MBkRKK

This type of curriculum is a more "maker space" type of curriculum. With DIY.org, students are engaged in engineering solutions. Interestingly enough, EIE released an interesting article yesterday regarding science scores when students engineer. Click here to read the article.

Along the same lines as DIY.org is Design Squad and Instructables.




mysteryscience.com
Mystery Science is my new favorite. I could tell you about it, but Doug does a great job in this video:

mysteryscience.com 


Right now, you can get into Mystery Science for FREE. I have used the magnetism lesson with my students and it was so easy to project the slide show.




azafterschool.org

The Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence (AzCASE) has links to many other FREE STEM Club resources. You do not need to be based in Arizona to take advantage of these opportunities.



This list is not meant to be exhaustive. In fact, if you know of a great resource that should be added, please email me at STEAMingAheadWithSusan@gmail.com and I will add it.



Monday, September 21, 2015

Autumn: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's the most wonderful time of the year,
With the kids robot building
And everyone telling you "Fall Break is near"
It's the most wonderful time of the year!

It's the cool-coolest season of all,
With the leaves a-changing and lunar eclipsing
When elk start to call,
It's the cool-coolest season of all.

There'll be pumpkins for carving,
And butterflies larving,
And harvesting corn by the row.
There'll be no fires blazing
And late night star gazing
At galaxies long, long ago.

It's the most wonderful time of the year,
With the kids robot building
And everyone telling you "Fall Break is near"
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
            -Susan Rodriguez



Autumnal Equinox is practically a holiday for STEM teachers.

We not only have trees stopping their production of chlorophyll, but we also have a total lunar eclipse (!).


We have caterpillars fattening up and corn ready to harvest.

Lego robot leagues are ramping up for competitions and star gazers are looking at the Pleiades.

Fire Prevention Week reminds us to check our smoke detectors while we get ready to set fire to hollowed-out pumpkins (after we have counted each seed and diagrammed the pumpkin life cycle).

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

What lessons do you love to teach this time of year? Email me at STEAMingAheadWithSusan@gmail.com .

Monday, September 7, 2015

Meet Up at the SciTech Festival Kickoff Event

http://www.cox7.com/stem-journals/
When you think of STEM, do you imagine Silicone Valley? San Francisco and New York City even? But, Arizona?

Yes, Arizona. Arizona has been on the forefront of promoting STEM for students, families, educators, and communities.

In fact, my last Meet Up was in Arizona for the STEM Club Conference.

The popular TV show "STEM Journals" is filmed primarily in Arizona. Meteorite Man, Geoff Notkin, travels around, highlighting STEM careers. In fact, Geoff helped kickoff the SciTech Festival season last year.

Arizona is also home to the SciTech Festival.




"Spearheaded by the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Science Center, the Arizona Technology Council Foundation, Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, the Arizona SciTech Festival is a grass roots collaboration of over 450 organizations in industry, academia, arts, civic, community and K-12." (AZSciTech.com)
This year, Arizona SciTech will kickoff the season with their Innovation Arizona Summit.

Want to attend sessions? There are over 20.
Sessions will be organized with the following tracks:

  • Innovation - Entrepreneurs and investors share best practices about developing your pitch, girls in technology, co-working spaces and more.
  • Festival & Events – Best practices to plan, promote and build partnerships for your event.
  • STEM & Education – Innovative ideas and practices to impact science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics in and out of the classroom.
  • Pathways – Learn about key AZ industry sectors such as Cybersecurity, Sustainability and Materials Science through diverse perspectives from industry leaders, University research professors, PK20 educators and more.
  • AZ Makers – Experience Arizona’s “maker” landscape with interactive talks and hands-on activities in this one of a kind Maker Room.

Want to see the latest gadgets? There are over 50 exhibitors.

Want to network? There will be over 1,000 attendees. And me. And, hopefully you. I have been attending the Innovation Summit for years and have found it to be a great opportunity to meet up with STEM-minded individuals from around the state.

Let's meet up for lunch. If you will be there and are interested in talking all things STEM, email me at STEAMingAheadWithSusan@gmail.com .

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

America's Greatest Classrooms: Free Annual Pass

Americans have been responsible for some amazing inventions. Electricity, the telegraph, the iPhone (just sayin'). Americans have also been credited with the invention of the national park system. A system which serves to protect natural wonders, culturally significant sites, and historic locations. National Park Service was created by an act signed by President Wilson on August 25, 1916.

Now, on the eve of it's centennial, our current president is opening the doors to national parks again. Through his "Every Kid in a Park" initiative, President Obama, along with National Park Service, is offering a free National Parks Pass to every 4th grader in America.  Fourth graders and their families will have free access to all national parks and federal lands for the entire 2015-2016 school year.  The initiative is intended to get students outside and "put down the smartphones".







Why Fourth Graders?

Fourth graders have been chosen for several reasons.

  • Typically, state standards focus on state history in fourth grade. Visiting a national park, be it a geological formation, a historical site, or a cultural center, is a wonderful way to bring history to life.
  • Along with state history, states commonly assess fourth graders on science standards. National parks exude science! (For more info on this see my National Parks: Treasure for Teachers section below). 
  • In 4th grade, students typically have just one teacher, as opposed to junior high school, where students have multiple teachers. Having one teacher simplifies the process for field trips.
What if our school doesn't have money for field trips?

The National Park Foundation along with National Park Service offers transportation grants to schools through the Ticket to Ride Program

How do we sign up?

Go to Every Kid in a Parks website: https://everykidinapark.gov/ and click on "Get your pass".

I recently interviewed Lauren Carter, an Education Technician at Petrified Forest National Park. She provided important information for families and teachers:

"Getting a 4th grader pass is easy! Students visit the website https://www.everykidinapark.gov/, complete a short activity about things they can do in public lands, then they are able to print out a pass at home. They can use the paper pass to bring a carload or 3 additional adults with them to any federal recreation area depending on how the park charges fees. The passes work just like the current inter-agency annual passes. If they are visiting a non-staffed area such as Forest Service, the pass can be displayed on the dash of the car. 

The child has to be present with the pass for the adults to gain free entry. The passes are for 4th graders or kids who will be 10 years old anytime between September, 1st 2015 and August, 31st 2016. This allows for home schooled students and free choice learners to participate. The plan is to continue this for many years so each year a different set of fourth graders can benefit. 

Students can bring their paper pass to any park that issues inter-agency passes to exchange the paper pass for a plastic card pass. They don't have to do this though. The paper passes are good for the whole school year. If it gets lost or damaged, they can just go on the website again to get another pass. Paper passes must be presented by the student to exchange for a plastic pass. All passes for this year will have the same expiration date of August, 31st 2016.

Teachers can also go on the website and print off a batch of passes for their students. There is a lesson plan that can be used in conjunction with this. One of the things we can do in the park is have ranger guided education programs centered around the "Every Kid in a Park" lessons and then we can issue paper passes at the end of the program to a whole class. Due to staffing, these programs need to be arranged in advance. We are so excited to be part of the Every Kid in a Park program!" 


National Park Service celebrates their 100th anniversary in 2016.  To help celebrate, I have compiled a list of resources for teachers and parents.  My National Parks: Treasure for Teachers series offers a myriad of resources and opportunities for teachers and classrooms.


  • Teacher Workshops
  • Traveling Trunks and Materials on Loan
  • Virtual Field Trips and other Online Opportunities
  • Teacher-Ranger-Teacher
  • Field Trips and Institutes

  • STEM Family Challenge: September


    STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, is a term used by teachers to encompass lessons and projects which include these subjects. STEM units usually start with a problem.  The teacher guides the students through discovery and experimenting to find solutions.  STEM does not just happen at school. In fact, STEM can be very effective, engaging, and fun at home.  

    At my school, I present a STEM Family Challenge each month.  Families take the challenge, complete a reflection sheet, and earn a $20 gift card to local businesses (bowling alley, movie theatre, miniature golf, etc.).  I would like to offer the STEM Family Challenge to you as well.  Although I can't offer you a gift card, I can put your name in lights HTML.  


    STEM Family Challenge: September

    September is prime county fair time.  Carnivals are making the fair circuit.  Chances are, your county fair is coming soon.  Why not use that excitement to launch your STEM Family Challenge?

    Using items around the house, create a ride at the fair.  

    See examples below for inspiration. Have FUN!

    flickr photo: Helen Cassidy cc

    eHow photo: Maggie Brooks
    If you wish to have your name in lights HTML, email a pic of your project and the STEM Reflection Sheet to me at STEAMingAheadWithSusan@gmail.com .  With your permission, I will post your pic!

    Want to read more about STEM at the Fair?
    Iowa State Fair had a STEM day! 
    Minnesota State Fair
    Utah State Fair

    Sunday, July 12, 2015

    STEM Immersion Guide and Resources

    I recently had the distinctive pleasure of working with an amazing group of educators who are in the process of transforming their school into a STEM Academy. You might be wondering: What is a "STEM Academy"? How can I integrate more STEM into my school?

    The answers can be found on the STEM Immersion Guide.

    Science Foundation Arizona, the Arizona STEM Network, and Maricopa County Education Service Agency created the STEM Immersion Guide to guide schools through the process of starting and implementing a STEM program.


    Where are we now?

    Before you chart your course, you need to evaluate where you are now in your STEM implementation. Below are videos of the 4 levels on the STEM Immersion Guide. As you watch, think "are we currently at this level?".


    The Exploratory Model
    "The Exploratory Model describes a traditional school experience with STEM-related EXTRA CURRICULAR opportunities offered to students in addition to the regular school day. These experiences may include, but are not limited to: after school clubs, summer programs, science fairs, robotics clubs, video production clubs, etc." (sfaz.org)


    The Introductory Model
    "The Introductory Model describes a traditional school experience with STEM-related experiences offered in addition to the current curriculum. These experiences may include, but are not limited to: integrated STEM units delivered once the state testing is complete, supplementary stand-alone learning units offered through industry or non-profit partnerships, etc." (sfaz.org)


    The Partial Immersion Model
    "The Partial Immersion Model describes a school experience where STEM-related experiences are integrated into the current curriculum. These experiences may include, but are not limited to: teaching to a school-wide STEM theme, teaching year-long integrated Problem/Project-Based Learning Units, teaching dual-enrollment programs, teaching in a "school within a school" model, etc." (sfaz.org)


    The Full Immersion Model
    "The Full Immersion Model describes a total school experience where STEM-related experiences are imbedded within a cross-curricular, thematic focus in ALL content areas. Full Immersion schools look more like 21st Century workplace environments rather 20th century K12 school environments. Problem-based Learning drives the curriculum and instruction. Students constantly collaborate to solve authentic problems, propose solutions, and contribute ideas to the larger community." (sfaz.org)


    Assess Your Level

    Now that you have watched the videos and have a good background on what each level looks like, take the online assessment to determine your current level. This can be done alone or with your entire staff. 


    http://stemguide.sfaz.org/assess-your-level/ 



    Assemble Your Team

    When you finish the last question on the online assessment, you will be directed to a site that identifies your current level. Now, you are ready to assemble your team.

    As you discuss your next steps and plan your 2-year, 3-year, and even 5-year goals, use the resources provided.  One of the biggest resources is the Arizona STEM Network. *Note, you do not need to live in Arizona to be a part of the network.  In fact, we have members from 16 states and 4 countries!



    Now What?
    Download the STEM Immersion Guide and plot your course. Define your goals and gather your resources. But, where to find quality STEM quality resources? 

    Resources
    Do you need resources and lessons? Did your team decide to enter a competition? Does your staff need more PD? Use the Tools4Teachers link! Resources have been vetted by a team of STEM experts and categorized for easy searching.


    "The Immersion Guide, the survey, videos and Implementation Guides all work together to provide schools with the tools necessary to imbed STEM into their programs at all levels," Linda Coyle, Director of Education, Science Foundation Arizona.

    I would love to hear about your goals for implementing your STEM program. Send me a message at STEAMingAheadWithSusan@gmail.com . 

    Monday, June 29, 2015

    Get Skills. Be Awesome.

    Ahh, the age-old question. What do you want to be when you grow up? Today's kids are finding that question harder and harder to answer. Actually, studies show "65 percent of today’s grade-school kids may end up doing work that hasn’t been invented yet" (Cathy Davidson).  If our kids will be doing work that isn't invented yet, what can we do to prepare them today?

    Enter DIY.org

    You have heard of the DIY movement, and you have probably heard of the Maker Movement, but have you heard of DIY.org? 

    DIY.org combines the DIY movement with the Maker Movement with gamification and badges (real badges!) with hackschooling and homeschooling

    Co-founder of DIY.org, Zach Klein, recently wrote an article for EdSurge. (click here to read the full article) Klein describes his childhood and pursuit of personal passions. 
    "Whether it’s Minecraft or duct tape wallets, the childhood passions that seem like fads, if not totally unproductive, can alternatively be seen as mediums for experiencing the virtuous cycle of curiosity: discovering, trying, failing and growing. At DIY, we’ve created a way for kids to explore hundreds of skills and to understand the ways in which they can be creative through them."
    https://diy.org/skills
    What types of skills can kids work on? Everything from Angler to Zoologist, and EVERYTHING in between. Seriously. Take a look. I guarantee there is at least one skill you your kid is passionate about. 


    https://twitter.com/DIY
    For instance, in my house, my boys have started with the Minecrafter skill. Since they have completed three tasks and uploaded pics/videos, they are eligible for a patch. 

    I am using DIY.org to keep my boys active and learning throughout summer. A family down the street is using it to supplement their homeschool curriculum. A local STEM Club is planning to use it to make their after-school projects more personal. 

    Access to most of the skills is free and the patches are a mere $4. DIY.org does offer memberships where kids get access to "camps" for only $10. But if you use this link, you can get $5 off! I think the new answer to the age-old question of "what do you want to be when you grow up?" is "Get skills. Be awesome." 

    What skills do you have? How do you use DIY.org in your house/classroom? Email me at STEAMingAheadWithSusan@gmail.com .