Pitsco Education is a leading provider of hands-on STEM products, curriculum, and professional development services to school districts across the country. We provide professional development that enables educators to learn more effectively by engaging in the same activities their students will experience in their classrooms. Sessions during a professional development seminar focus on the STEM connections that teachers will lead their students through. In the seminar, teachers experience a blend of pedagogy and hands-on application throughout that builds their confidence in delivering powerful STEM activities to their students.
Recently, Pitsco conducted professional development training for the Somerset Schools in Somerset, Texas. Secondary math and science teachers attended the training to become more familiar with STEM in the classroom. The session topics included catapults and mousetrap vehicles. The teachers in attendance enjoyed working with their colleagues in different academic disciplines. It allowed them the opportunity to come up with cross-curricular lessons within the same project. The school district said they saw a positive effect on their teachers, and they are planning on additional professional development to allow their staff to be trained with teachers in different content areas.
One teacher said she was able to see the math concepts being taught in the activity but would have never thought this could also be used in a science class. She was glad that she and her colleagues were able to go through these activities together as a team rather than as an individual department. The training allowed her to create cross-curricular lessons that she normally would not have been able to do.
The teachers walked away from their training with a better understanding of STEM and how to teach STEM concepts to their students. To read more about STEM professional development, visit www.pitsco.com.
By Rena Mincks, TAG member, Jefferson Elementary, Pullman, WA
Sometimes keeping my highly capable third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students enthused and engaged can be challenging. Not with straw rockets. All students were actively engaged in designing, building, and experimenting with the easy-to-use materials. Rich conversations around velocity, length of flight, and angle of launch were heard for weeks as students would change one variable at a time, including length of straw, weight of nose cone in relation to length of straw, types of fins, and number of fins. Students were designing various data tables to see which type was easiest to read. Measurements needed to be accurate to see exactly which rocket performed the best.
Straw Rockets - Getting Started PackageStraw Rocket Launcher Lesson PlanDrawing the Short Straw
Forces within the Earth bend and strain the thin crust on which we live. When these forces are strong enough, they cause the crust to snap causing an earthquake. We have all seen the tremendous damage and devastation that can occur especially to manmade structures. Engineers, architects, and scientists have to work together to understand how earthquakes work and construct structures to withstand these forces.
Want your student(s) to learn the difference between a live load and a dead load? How about how engineers create buildings to withstand an earthquake's force? How excited would your student(s) be to design and test how structures are affected by earthquakes?
Using the myQuake miniSystem, students can design, construct, and test structures for earthquake resistance in a dynamic way. This system is ideal for teaching about resonant frequencies, sensor measurement, and data acquisition and analysis. Pitsco offers two different two-student packages that utilize the myQuake miniSystem.
In the Understand Structures & Earthquakes Action Pack, students explore components of an earthquake and the factors engineers must consider when constructing earthquake-resistant buildings. Students will complete lessons focused on answering questions such as these: Why do structures crumble in an earthquake? Is there such a thing as an earthquake-resistant structure? They will design and build an earthquake-resistant structure. The myQuake Teacher’s Guide provides two weeks of curriculum, and the Action Pack contains enough materials and equipment for two students.
Earth science, physics, and engineering all combine in the study of earthquakes to make a dynamic learning opportunity that is captured in the myQuake Mini Pack. In the myQuake Mini Pack, students learn about seismic waves, plate tectonics, and other key concepts; build simple structures to test on the myQuake; experiment with the Harmonic Highrise to see resonant frequency; and perform other activities. The myQuake Teacher’s Guide provides three weeks of curriculum, and the Mini Pack contains enough materials and equipment for two students.
Visit www.pitsco.com to find out more about the myQuake miniSystem.