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4 Broadcaster Press October 10, 2017 www.broadcasteronline.com Home of Great Results since 1934 201 W Cherry St. • Vermillion, SD • Phone: 624-4429 Fax: 624-2696 • BroadcasterOnline.com Choosing Quality STEM Activities By Christine Wood SDSU Extension 4-H Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Field Specialist As we kick-off a new 4-H year, it is time to begin planning and preparing for new and exciting ways to engage youth during club meetings, afterschool programs, and camps. Many will choose to incorporate activities and lessons related to STEM disciplines. However, choosing a quality STEM activity can be a challenge. A quick Google search for ‘STEM activities for youth’ produces an overwhelming number of results, how do you know which are quality? Quality Activities and Lessons As you begin scanning activities, you will find that some are simply busy work, others are very exciting but provide no content, and others are loaded with content yet lack engaging elements. Quality STEM activities provide youth with opportunities to become engaged in science inquiry and the engineering design process as they explore various STEM concepts. • To determine if an activity or lesson is quality you can utilize the following questions: • Is the activity appropriate for the age group I am working with? (For information on age appropriateness, refer to the Ages and Stages of Youth Development). • Is the activity relevant or of interest to the youth I am working with? • Is the activity hands-on? • Is there additional background knowledge needed? Is it easy to locate? • Does the activity address education standards? • Are you providing youth with opportunities to improve their Science Abilities? Predict, Hypothesize, Evaluate, State a Problem, Research a Problem, Test, Problem Solve, Design Solutions, Measure, Collect Data, Draw/Design, Build/Construct, Use Tools, Observe, Communicate, Organize, Infer, Question, Plan Investigation, Summarize/Relate, Invent/Implement Solutions, Interpret/Analyze/Reason, Categorize/Order/Classify, Model/Graph/Use Numbers, Troubleshoot, Redesign, Optimize, Collaborate, Compare • Are you providing opportunities for youth to experience and improve in the essential elements? • Are activities led with an experiential approach to learning? • Are activities using inquiry to foster the natural creativity and curiosity of youth? Where can you find quality STEM activities and lessons? There are multitudes of locations that you can find quality STEM lessons or activities at a reasonable cost, but here are some of our favorites: • National 4-H Curriculum Youth activity guides and kits for a variety of STEM topics that build life skills as well as content knowledge. • Cornell University 4-H Science Toolkit Grab and go lessons that can be taught with items found around the home and will take 45-90 minutes to complete. • Design Squad Nation Activities, videos, games, and contests that give kids a stronger understanding of the design process and the connection between engineering and our lives. • Dicovere Engineering based lessons and supplementary materials. • Engineering is Elementary Curriculum for in-school and afterschool programs, grades 1-8. • Grow For It Resources and opportunities to connect youth and educators to issues in agriculture and natural resources in meaningful ways. • How to SMILE.ORG Learning activities, tools, and services designed especially for those who teach school-aged children in nonclassroom settings. • NASA Education A-Z list of education opportunities, lessons, and activities for educators and youth. • NASA Summer of Innovation NASA-themed STEM activities and themed units that are great for camps. • Science Buddies Free project ideas and help in all areas of science from physics to food science and music to microbiology. • STEM Works Resource for teachers, mentors, parents, STEM professionals, volunteers, and everyone passionate about getting children eager to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math. • Teach Engineering Standard aligned engineering lessons and hands-on activities. Wisconsin Fast Plants Open education about plants and their roles as individuals, populations, in communities and in ecosystems. VERMILLION SCHOOL DISTRICT Fall 2017 Parent/Teacher Conferences Thursday, October 26th 2:30pm – 8pm Friday, October 27th 8am – 1pm There will be an early dismissal for the students on Thursday, October 26th as follows: Austin and Jolley Elementary Schools – 1:50pm Middle and High School – 2pm There will be no school on Friday, October 27th Teacher In-Service will be held after conferences from 2pm - 3:45pm Effective Meeting Communication Begins With the Principles By Peggy Schlechter SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist Maybe you call them ground rules. I prefer to refer to them as guiding principles. To me, rules sound like something that some people just like to break so I tend to avoid that term. It doesn’t matter what you call them, guidelines established at the beginning of a meeting can allow for more effective communication and more productive meetings. Creating these rules or principles may take 5-10 minutes at the beginning of a meeting, but the investment in time can result in more productive meetings. It’s most helpful when those principles can be posted at each meeting so that they are in clear view of participants. Why Set Guiding Principles? Does every meeting require guiding principles? Probably not; however if you have a group of people who haven’t worked together before, it can help to determine expectations at a meeting. Once a work group has formed a list that everyone can work with, that same list can use used at future group meetings. Simply a reminder of the list is all it takes as well as a reminder that someone can discuss a change in the guiding principles at any time. Currently, I participate in a group that has the guiding principles posted at every meeting. At the beginning of each meeting, the meeting facilitator reads through the principles and asks participants if those still work for us. Sometimes I think that is a bit much as the same people participate on this committee that meets once a month; however I will admit that it gives me time to really focus on the meeting and business at hand as they are read. One of the principles that group uses to leave the meeting with a clear sense of next steps. This helps us move forward from meeting to meeting and helps us make sure we understand the action steps we should be working towards. I do think that principle helps keep our meetings to be meetings just for the sake of meeting. We actually make progress from meeting to meeting. Meeting Benefits Guiding principles can especially be useful when a group has experienced some trust issues or controversial topics may be discussed. In those instances, the principles can help create a safe place to move the organization or group forward. If you have been in a meeting where there are conflicts, you know it can be helpful to have something to point to and guide participants. In these situations, a principle that reminds us to attack the problem, not the person, can be helpful. Perhaps you have been in a meeting where participants aren’t paying attention. Maybe a participant is always looking at his/her smart phone, or a couple of participants are visiting about other topics. As those actions can be distracting, they can keep the business of the meeting from moving a long in a timely manner. In these situations, there are several principles that can be helpful. Those could include: No one-on-one side meetings or conversations. Stay mentally and physically present. Listen actively to others. Do not interrupt other participants. Recently I facilitated a meeting where I had a poster of common guiding principles. In this situation, I read through the principles and asked if they made sense? I also asked if they wanted to add or change or remove any of them. This technique can save some time when it may be a meeting of a group that will only meet once or twice. As I was getting ready to leave, one of the participants mentioned that she did like having those posted. If you haven’t used guiding principles or ground rules or whatever you want to call them, try them at your next meeting. It may be your most effective meeting yet! Tell them you saw it in the Broadcaster! Tell them you saw it in the Broadcaster! 624-4429 www.broadcasteronline.com 2901 Broadway, Yankton 605-665-7861 Tell them you saw it in the Broadcaster! 201 W. Cherry, Vermillion 624-4429 www.broadcasteronline.com Tell them you saw it in the Broadcaster! 201 W. Cherry, Vermillion 624-4429 www.broadcasteronline.com
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