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STEM Specialist, Teachers Lead Workshop

Developing Project-Based Learning Units in Partnership with STEM Professionals: Real-World Project Examples
 
Springfield science specialist Dara Brennan co-presented a hands-on workshop on project-based learning on Friday, November 11, at the National Science Teachers Association regional conference in Portland. Educators from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California were in attendance.​

The workshop, co-facilitated by UO professor Bryan Rebar, featured projects developed for grades 3-8 through the C2SL program (Content in Context SuperLessons), a unique partnership with Lane County science teachers, the University of Oregon, and area science-based businesses and organizations.
 
Brennan and Rebar also hosted a panel discussion alongside Springfield science teachers Josh Donaldson from Two Rivers-Dos Ríos Elementary, Nelson Farrier from Hamlin Middle School, Zach Adler from Briggs Middle School, as well as Jody Reed from Creswell Middle School.
 
Background: C2SL is a teacher professional development focused on supporting 3rd-8th-grade teachers mastery of the new math and science standards (Common Core State Standards for Math and Next Generation Science Standards). A team of math and science teachers worked to created project-based lesson plans in conjunction with area professional partners such as city and county agencies, utilities, colleges and reseaerch-based businesses. The partners consult to develop authentic lesson plans that echo real-world needs; host teacher and student field trips; provide materials; record videos; and visit classrooms to lend expertise and guidance. Ultimately, the project aims to include 70 teachers representing all 16 districts in Lane County in order to support wide dissemination of the STEM project-based learning approach.

The resulting SuperLessons are available for free via Open Educational Resources (OERcommons.org) - search on SuperLessons.
 
Sample projects in use in Springfield Public Schools include: 
 
The SuperLesson: Faithfully Feeding Fish - Grade 7 (Farrier)
Students learn to program Arduino microprocessors, which are inexpensive and easy-to-use, to develop routines for automatic lighting and feeding for fish tanks. The project involves learning how to do simple wiring of an LED, a buzzer and a motor to the microprocessor.
The SuperLesson: Keeping Warm and Staying Cool - Grade 3 (Donaldson)
Consistent housing is a continual issue for our community; evidence of this is readily observable in the neighborhoods surrounding our classrooms. Over the course of 15 classroom hours, students explore how they can insulate structures to protect from extreme hot and extreme cold using recycled and/or repurposed materials.

Students will make observations and collect data related to temperature. Student findings will be communicated through science journals and student-generated models (charts, 3D structures, drawings, etc.).

To find out more about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) at SPS, visit www.springfield.k12.or.us/stem and follow the links to Dara's site.
 
Click here to see a list of ongoing STEM or STEAM (STEM + the Arts) projects in Springfield schools.
 
Interested in volunteering during one of the district's STEM projects? Click here to see current opportunities. 
 



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