In January we kicked off the #STEMchat year with KitHub. Our topic was STEAM fun and learning in the year ahead. The official tagline of #STEMchat is bringing parents, educators and STEM professionals to share ideas and resources for raising STEM-loving kids, but I think always learning, always growing might be just as appropriate. Without fail, I always learn from STEMchat, and I meet great new Tweeps, to boot!
KitHub #STEMchat Recap
Here are a few of the new-to-me resources from the KitHub chat. I bet you’ll find at least one that’s new to you as well.
Teachers, do you know about Ed Camp? They are education-themed unconferences. That is, the participants create and share the conference content, which means these are usually low-cost events and a great source of peer-to-peer learning. Click the link to find one near you.
Maybe you’re an educator who likes to build her PLN without leaving home or school. If that’s the case, check out this list of education chats on Twitter. There are state-based chats, role-based chats, topic-centered chats, and more. It’s a long list!
I love this video from the LA Makerspace featuring their Scratch Squad/leap Boot Camp. It really drives home the message that once kids are exposed to free resources like Scratch, they not only learn to code, but they have so much fun doing it, that they naturally teach their friends and family in order to play together. And we all know that teaching is a great way to reinforce learning, so programs like this start a virtuous cycle.
One chatter advocated for makerspaces instead of screen time. Can I get an Amen? Click to see a few simple ideas for setting up a makerspace in your home to give your kids an appealing alternative to screen time. As you can see, you needn’t make over an entire room, just a small specially outfitted space with a few novel tinkering supplies can suffice. Setting up a home makespace doesn’t have to be a one-person job, letting your kids help design and set-up the space can be a project in itself. It’s said when kids help cook and prepare meals, they’re more interested in eating the outcome. I’m guessing that there’s a similar connection when it comes to a makerspace.
Here is something that I believe was referred to as a makerspace brain dump on Evernote.
And here’s a neat project to put your 3D printer to good use, Enabling the Future.
This is a project that I definitely want to tackle in 2016: Fabrice Florin’s Wonderbox! A Wonderbox is a hyped up, super cool diorama or as he calls them, “small containers for magical experiences that anyone can create.” You grab a box before it hits the recycling pile, add in a few themed props and some electronic components like LEDs, small motors or buzzers and the materials you need to make simple circuits, like batteries and conductive materials. Take a look at his sample Wonderboxes, and follow these instructions to make your own.
If you’re a classroom teacher who wants to bring Wonderboxes or other cool STEAM projects to your classroom, KitHub has some great tips on securing funding to help that happen.
And, just for fun, here’s a fascinating bit about dogs as probiotics which came about as result of a side conversation about microbiomes.