July 14, 2016

STEM Challenges: Your Role as Facilitator, part 2

This is part 2 of your role as facilitator (for part 1, click here).

Below you'll find my "Dos and Don'ts" for what to do after the students are done building. The video offers full details, and there is a written summary below. 

Your Role as Facilitator, part 2:

Summarized thoughts:

Things to do when the challenge ends:

1. Gallery walk

Have students line up and snake through the room, quietly observing designs. Note: have them keep hands folded behind backs so they remember not to touch! This should be short: ~2 min.

2. Q & A session

Give each group time to present their designs. Typically, I give 30 - 60 seconds to describe the design, followed by Q&A. At the beginning of the year, I ask most of the questions and gradually pull back to where I ask almost none, letting the students take over.  

Consider having each group call on someone from the class to ask one or two questions. This ensures each member has a chance to practice oral communication skills and take ownership of the design.

Examples of what to ask are in the embedded video.

3. Broader discussion (whole class or in groups)

I have a set of eight questions I like to use whole-class, or in groups, to help students reflect on how well they worked, successes & failures, etc. See the video for details. 

4. Record & reflect on first iteration

It's important that every student record & reflect individually on the designs, even when they work in groups. This information should be used to inform modifications for the second iteration, not as a replacement. You can also gather valuable information from their reflections to help you decide whether to tweak materials or the criteria & constraints prior to the next round. See the video for details. 

5. Extension activities

The specifics of a challenge will determine the extension activities which can be used to review or introduce new concepts across multiple subject areas.

That said, there are a few standards that work with most challenges:

- Ask/answer math questions related to the designs.

- Create process flow maps for building designs. 

- Research

- Writing

- Scientific inquiry/experiments

See the video for more details. 

As always, reach out in the comments or by email if there's a specific question or topic you'd like me to address. :)


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