Architects of STEM Engagement
As STEM Education Leaders, WE are Architects of STEM Engagement. WE develop, scrutinize, and immerse ourselves with blueprints that eventually address the same question: How can we build bridges to close academic and skills gaps for ALL students? and more importantly, provide purposeful OPPORTUNITIES in STEM?
Same questions – Different answers.
Where will the paths lead us as we seek answers to educational reform and help our students and teachers navigate through the multi-faceted maze of emerging STEM skills in order for ALL to be successful? The answers are allusive and complex. As a STEM Education Leader, Doug Baltz takes us on his personal journey to provide a possible solution to the emerging challenges in STEM.
The program he developed is called STEM Research and Design.
The STEM R&D course provides unique opportunities for students to develop science research methodologies while embedding authentic data externships with professionals from the surrounding area. Together, the authentic STEM externships and our students are the pillars of the course (these are strategic partnerships throughout our community) and are the real heroes of the story!
Baltz reminds us: The STEM crossroad is not a dead end. The crossroad represents the proverbial lighthouse that helps us avoid obstacles and encourages STEM education leaders to build blueprints of success for ALL stakeholders.
Share your thoughts
Architects of STEM Engagement. - Doug Baltz
Welcome! I am so honored and excited to share my STEM story with all of you. As Architects of STEM Engagement, how do we create programs for ALL stakeholders to be successful? What are some questions in STEM policy, curriculum, or leadership that may have different answers from your experience?
Happy viewing! Please "like" my video if you found it interesting :)).
Frameworks for mentors?
Hi there Doug - what a pleasure to learn more about this program you've created to serve both students and your community's future!
I read your linked material about the design of the externship program and am intrigued - it seems like this is something that could be easily replicated in communities with access to technical workers and/or colleges/universities.
I am curious about the training, if any, you give the mentors that is specifically about mentorship and professional skills, especially for students in the post-quarantine era. What support do students - and adults - need in this program to co-construct meaningful experiences and data analysis? :) Kirstin
In reply to Frameworks for mentors? by Kirstin Milks
Kirstin - thank you for your…
Kirstin - thank you for your response and highlights. Yes, the STEM R&D course is definitely replicable or at least creating a hybrid of the course itself would be possible. The Externship Mentors are key to our authentic experiences so it is imperative that all stakeholders are within the same framework of expectations. Describing what an externship involves, roles, expectations, and outcomes are all provided to the mentor. We provide a required mentor coaching dialogue with our perspective mentors. This does entail many techniques from Elena Aguilar's work, "The ART of Coaching", where we look at a student's asset index and a mentor's asset index for the externship grouping. We also inform perspective mentors of the following: 1. Guide students (externs) through the PURPOSE of your research/projects, but also in understanding the underlying goals and principles of the data analysis, such as modeling and simulation decision processes, quality management, and continuous program improvement. 2. Outline expectations (yours and theirs) and establish guidelines for ensuring they're met. Each student will have parameters and protocols in place also. Relationships are imperative.
The pandemic brought a new challenge (and numerous others) to our externships because of the virtual environment. I was very hesitant at first, but we succeding in bringing the externships to us on zoom - it actually had shortfalls but also some successes. We did it, and now some externships - which we call "STEM Cafe" is a great way to bring STEM professionals inside your classroom from all over the world. :)) Doug
How would you implement this idea in the middle school?
Interesting idea, but how would you use these ideas in the middle school.
In reply to How would you implement this idea in the middle school? by Yevgeny Pevzner
Great question as we,…
Great question as we, ourselves have started to explore taking this program to middle and elementary schools in our district. What a fantastic conduit to have if we could start in the lower grades a STEM R&D which is appropriate for math/problem solving skills and, most importantly, the CTE piece of career/opportunity exposure. I would definitely consider which STEM programs offer "out reach" experiences versus "in reach" experiences. Programs which "reach into the school" and provide authentic experiences instead "one and done" activities when they visit your schools. I truly believe it can be accomplished. Doug
I like how your program connects students to local STEM professionals. In a rapidly and constantly changing field, your approach ensures students are obtaining the knowledge and skills current STEM professionals are using. The video seems to highlight high school students. What types of STEM experiences do elementary and middle school students at your school have?
Becoming a More Equitable Math Educator | STEM Teacher Leadership Network (stemtlnet.org)
In reply to Staying Current by Liza Bondurant
Hi Liza, Thanks for the…
Hi Liza, Thanks for the positive comments on STEM R&D. The course is very flexible to adopt NEW and emerging skills required to be successful in STEM fields. We currently only offer the STEM R&D course at the high school level. However, we are exploring a middle/elementary STEM R&D experience - stay tuned :)). Our middle/elementary schools offer STEAM curriculums throughout and CTE experiences. Our high school students, together with other STEM professionals/groups provide interactive/engaging STEAM nights for our elementary schools. Numerous demos and make and takes - too much fun. Doug
Great broadened thinking
Doug, I appreciate the approach and love the idea of creating new programs that will entice students. How did you get this off the ground with your district? What is the make-up of your area when it comes to all types of diversity?
The video is very professionally done!
In reply to Great broadened thinking by Doug Hodum
Doug to Doug :)). Thank you…
Doug to Doug :)). Thank you for the comments. Many years ago I was very, very fortunate to be approached by the central administration to create a program that was different and pushed the boundaries of curriculum delivery and bridge all the educational gaps. I was allocated time within my schedule to work on this initiative. Being an adjunct Instructor at Oakland university also gave me an opportunity to have productive dialogues with the Engineering/Education faculty. Securing externships for our students made me into a "traveling STEM salesman" and was a lot of work. SE Michigan and, between our high schools, there is a diverse student population. I must admit though, we are surrounded by numerous auto companies/suppliers and affluent areas do exist. I also can say that many of the externships that provide longer opportunities are proud to help underrepresented groups in STEM.
The video was a collaboration between our broadcasting crew at Derby middle school - WOW! what an amazing job.
Doug, it refreshing to see a program designed to promote transitional skills that will assist scholars in navigating the crossroads of life. Thank you for sharing the scholars stories which is encouraging to hear just how this approach has enhanced their lives. STEM is the blueprint and your video like many has reveled the diverse approaches to teaching and learning for All.
How can we learn more about STEM Research and Design?
In reply to The Crossroad by Ruth Ray, M.Ed.
The "STEM Cafe" is a future…
The "STEM Cafe" is a future article which I'm currently working on to deepen/update where the STEM R&D course has evolved into an exemplary STEM program - stay tuned. Ruth, I also believe you could find out more - or at least get a "flavor" of STEM R&D in the published papers provided below the video. Doug
STEM Research and Design: A Mentoring “Data Experience," by Doug Baltz
STEMx R&D Receives National Recognition
This is interesting. How would you implement the program for special needs students? This would be great to connect STEM to workplace skills at real-world jobs. :) Diana
Accommodations and assessment plans have been in place for our students who may require them in STEM R&D. So far it has been successful with some productive struggles. The externships may or may not require that paraprofessionals from our special education department facilitate/accompany our students - it all depends on the type of externship and the if the facility itself can accommodate certain needs. Great question :)) Doug
Same Question, Different Answer. Always!
Same question, different answer is so spot on!
Questions are the definition of science.
Throughout civilizations the same questions continuously are being asked.
Based on the Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is where the answer was found.
Our students will have to solve the same problems we solved only differently!
In reply to Same Question, Different Answer. Always! by Andrew Frisch
Question the questions!…
Question the questions! Agree! Thanks for the positive comments - especially how our students will solve problems differently in the future:))
Inspiring. Einstein's quote…
Inspiring. Einstein's quote of "same questions different answers--love it! I also like his "Imagination is more important than knowledge" and “If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”
Using professionals from the surround area is so key. We have been trying to make this happen here in central NY. I will definitely lately be sharing this video with others in my community!
I see there are comments here with others asking about STEAM in earlier grades I teach elementary STEAM enrichment (40 minute sessions) and I try to get them to at least WONDER and be enchanted about science. I am also am a studio artist so I often show them how artists have used math and science to create personal expression. I think in the elementary schools we have to provide the roots of STEAM: imagination and how to use the researched steps of the Creative Problem Solving (CPS) process. I say this because I have just begun another graduate program at SUNY Buffalo State in Creativity & Leadership. Although most pertains to adult facilitation I see the possibilities to use the CPS tools for younger students.
Has the colleagues in your district thought along these lines? Tried to provide more opportunities for divergent thinking, offer opportunities to then converge, make a plan?
WONDER about science and…
WONDER about science and create an environment of sincere curiosity. :)). The dialogues have started as we begin STEM curriculum articulation through our programs. Stay tuned.
Our STEM R&D course has a very cool application of Art into STEM. STEAM.
Pick a data graph of your choice and get creative - then present it to our STEM R&D class. No size, medium, or materials limitations. However, embed just the function of the graph - no axis, units, titles, numbers, etc. into a piece of art. This module is one of their favorites.
Working with K-8 students I…
Working with K-8 students I am always challenged to find ways to get the students outside of campus. Thank you for the STEM R & D model! Looking forward to the STEM Cafe article as well. Thank you and fantastic job!
In reply to Working with K-8 students I… by Rebecca Cummings
Thank you, Rebecca. …
Thank you, Rebecca. Strategies That Engage ALL Minds = STEAM.