Week 4 Robotics

Week 4 Robotics: What Projects Could Help Me Integrate My Content with Making?

I think an integrated project works best with making. If you have most of the subjects integrated, then I believe the student will learn more and will not forget what they learned. I know when I was young and my teachers used an integrated approach on one lesson, I have never forgotten it, even to this day.

Research shows that when students are engaged in meaningful learning they will be better prepared to succeed in whatever endeavor they choose after high school (Paris, 2015). With an integrated curriculum, students will be able to engage in making as team members, solving problems, and learning to communicate better.

“Good jobs will go to people who can put knowledge to work, but more than half of the students in the United States leave high school without the knowledge necessary to hold those jobs” (Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, 1991). We need to make sure that our students are ready for the work force once they leave high school.

As teachers, we need to make lessons that relate to real world situations. We need to show the students that what they are learning they will be using later in life. Stasz (1997) states that teachers need to increase their knowledge of workplace practices and integrate high-quality curricula that combine academic and vocational skills, adopting teaching roles that support “authentic learning” and developing “alternative assessments that provide meaningful feedback.”

To create meaningful integrated lessons takes time and team work. It is critical that teachers be allotted time to meet and plan lessons together. In our school, we had team time. As a team, we planned a unit or two that we could work on together. In one case, we planned an Endangered Species Unit. I assigned the project and would take the kids to the library and give them time to research. The math teacher worked with students to create a bar graph showing the status of various animals. The Language Arts teacher assigned a three-paragraph essay on why the animal was endangered. This was a good lesson in that the students saw that what they were learning in one class related to what they were learning in another class—and that the subject involved real world situations.

The King Career Center is an excellent school that is working with making. Students engage in hands-on learning at this school, which is great for students who are unsure about their future. Here, students can take a variety of classes to explore what they might like to do.

The value to students in providing them with an integrated approach to learning is the connection they see between what they are learning and how they will be able use that information outside of the school. Using integrated and applied curriculum, teachers and community members combine their experiences and expertise to make sure that students are prepared for the workplace they eventually will be entering, making the learning experience valuable to all participants (Paris, 2015).

The Common Core State Initiative wants students to become self-directed learners, effectively seeking out and using resources to assist them, including teachers, peers, and print and digital reference materials (Hall, 2014). I think integrated curriculum, especially when it involves making, will benefit students. It is designed to meet the learning needs of a diverse group of students, effectively address academic and technical standards, and raise academic achievement (Ho, 2008).

Students are made more work force ready by an integrated curriculum. As teachers, we need to make sure that the assignments are real world related. If students see lessons that relate to things that happen outside of school then they will more likely be engaged. As a teacher, I need to have projects that are hands on and relate to students’ interests. I want them to be engaged and have the skills they need to be ready for the work force after high school, and I see making as playing a central role in integrating my curriculum.

References

Hall, M. (2014). Using Makerspace to Teach Language Arts Common Core Standards. Retrieved June 7, 2015.

Ho, P. (2008). Integrated Curriculum: Making Connections Between Academic and Technical Instruction (multimedia presentation). Retrieved June 8, 2015.

Paris, K. (2015). Critical Issue: Developing an Applied and Integrated Curriculum. Retrieved June 6, 2015, from http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/envrnmnt/stw/sw100.htm.

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6 thoughts on “Week 4 Robotics

  1. That is wonderful that you were able to work as a team and design an integrated unit on endangered animals and that students were make connections across the curriculum.

    When my son was in high school he took several classes from the King Career Center. He learned real world skills and concepts and was able to make connections in his core classes. He took the fire and rescue coarse, an auto mechanics course that taught him basic car care, culinary arts, and a forensics course. During these courses he went on field trips and participated in events out in the community that were related to the courses. After attending these courses my son had a better idea of what he wanted to do when he graduated high school. They showed him some of the opportunities that are out there waiting for him.

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  2. You brought up many important facts such as “good jobs will go to people who can put knowledge to work.” We have to teach are students how to use their knowledge. I also like how you said it’s critical for teachers to allotted time to plan lessons together. In my planning I should keep other classrooms in mind and do some joint tinkering. I totally agree with you about how integrated projects work best with making. I too have many fond memories of lessons I did as a student that were integrated.

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  3. That would be interesting to collaborate on an interdisciplinary unit that involves tinkering and making across several content areas. The Endangered Species Unit could be a documentary that easily incorporates the research, bar graphs, and writing as a script for production. Students can gain experience writing and producing a documentary, which can be just as valuable as attending a course on filmmaking! 😉

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    1. Yes and I think the students learn more when they do a unit like this across subjects. I just wish we could do more. Takes a lot of planning ahead of time for interdisciplinary units to work.

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      1. I agree that students learn more when a unit spans across different subject areas. Many students find animals very interesting, so you have the engagement factor built into your unit. Do you have plans to add any other units?

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