District 54 teams selected to present at TECH 2019
Teams of students from Stevenson Elementary School and Mead Junior High School will represent School District 54 at TECH 2019 on May 7 at the Illinois State Capitol Building in Springfield.
- Teacher Justin Gross and his Stevenson students – Cordelia B. (fourth grade), Leonidas C. (fourth grade) and Diya P. (sixth grade) will present Mission to Mars: A Cross-Curricular, Cross-Grade Level STEM-Based Experience.
- Teacher Julie Collier and her Stevenson students – Angelina B. (sixth grade), Sonia P. (sixth grade) and Mya S. (sixth grade) will talk about Blue Screen Productions: Making Movies to Demonstrate Learning Across the Curriculum.
- Teacher Tom Pfeifer and his Mead students – Ella S., Sreedevi P. and Maya J. – will share Present Outside the Classroom Science Fair Projects Gone Viral!
Mission to Mars – Stevenson
The Mission to Mars project began as a Discovery Education STEM Connect lesson in which students used technology to develop solutions for landing humans on Mars. Fourth-grade students researched and designed their own spacecraft utilizing a variety of materials in their classroom, while sixth-graders designed habitats that could sustain life on Mars. Throughout the process students participated in cross-grade Google Meet sessions to share their learning, ask questions and give advice.
“By allowing our students to showcase their unique learning experiences, they begin to take ownership of their education and realize that what they are doing goes far beyond the classroom walls,” Gross said. “Our students are identifying real-world problems or tasks and are working collaboratively, across grade levels, to solve them. It has been inspiring to watch students take on different leadership roles because what they are learning genuinely interests them and they are motivated to make a difference.”
Blue Screen Productions – Stevenson
Collier and her students will show how creating movies enabled students to apply communication, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity skills, also known as the 4Cs, while demonstrating mastery of content. Films created by the students included book trailers to hook readers, horror movies to review challenging math tasks and an anti-bullying public service announcement created in partnership with the production crew of Elk Grove Village Television. Sixth-graders are currently helping students in the school’s special education classrooms create personalized videos to remember their time at Stevenson.
“Our students fully embraced the district’s focus on innovation this year and the impact on learning is quite remarkable,” Collier said. “Sixth-graders utilized our classroom technology in a wide range of learning experiences that prompted further inquiry.”
She said the most impressive technology-based creations were student-produced movies.
“Working in teams, students lived out the 4 C’s as they completed their projects,” Collier said. “As educators, we strive to build an environment where students take the lead. I’m so proud of these students for taking ownership for their learning.”
Science Fair Projects Gone Viral – Mead
Pfeifer and his students will show how they publicized their scientific investigations via individualized websites and engaging podcasts, providing an opportunity to communicate and collaborate with a virtual audience.
“Students use their Chromebooks to not only communicate their scientific findings locally, but also globally,” Pfeifer said. “They are able to navigate the various platforms that are offered by Google Apps for Education to spread their scientific ideas through multiple mediums.
“Students can learn through multiple platforms including videos, slides presentations, podcasts and the internet. The digital world is literally at their fingertips. Instead of being the science sage on the stage I am their navigational guide on the side.”
Legislators and the public are invited to TECH 2019, during which 115 teams of students and teachers from schools throughout Illinois will demonstrate how technology is being used in the classroom to increase student engagement. TECH 2019 is presented by Illinois Computing Educators, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to leadership in education through technology. For more information about TECH 2019, visit www.iceberg.org/tech-2019.