Hurricanes, flash floods, and wildfires. Climate change brings more extreme weather, and the results can be catastrophic to our communities. As the weather becomes more severe, there is an increased need for shelters that can be easily transported and assembled to provide relief shelter for families who have been displaced from their homes. In this session, attendees will engage in an authentic STEM inquiry implemented in third and fourth-grade classrooms. The inquiry was designed so that students would be able to explore homelessness caused by natural disasters and design a tiny house prototype for a family in need. Participants will learn about planning and implementing a place-based and integrated STEM inquiry during this session. A major focus will be on planning and sensemaking as students learn through authentic opportunities and real-world mathematics and science. The presenter will share experiences using the Design Thinking Framework and place-based methodology as a guide for implementing and designing integrated STEM inquiries. In addition, the presenter will give specific strategies for developing problem statements to engage students in empathetic responses within STEM inquiries. The presenter will also share specific strategies for developing empathy during STEM inquiries for elementary-aged students. Participants will have the opportunity to experience key parts of the inquiry and view student examples.
1. Engage participants in NGSS-based engineering design challenge where participants are required to design a solution for homelessness caused by natural disasters (hurricane, floods, wildfire); 2. Learn the role of empathy in authentic STEM inquiries by using Design Thinking principles; and 3. Outline possible place-based strategies for implementing STEM inquiries in upper elementary classrooms that engage all learners in STEM.
Jennifer Williams (Isidore Newman School: New Orleans, LA)