We are counting down the days until our annual World Café for STEM and Global Schools! On February 8th, business leaders and WCPSS educators from STEM and Global Schools Networks will come together to create possibilities for students. During this focused networking event, WakeEd connects educators with the time and talent resources from business, civic, and academic leaders that they need to bring innovative, real-world education to their classrooms. Additionally, this event provides a unique opportunity for business professionals to become actively involved in Wake County Public Schools. This program has grown from 28 organizations in 2015 to 43 in 2017. In fact, World Café was one WakeEd program honored by US2020 at the 2016 STEM Mentoring Awards for Excellence in Public-Private Partnerships.
One of the most exciting parts of World Café is the Idea Crucible, fashioned after the popular television show Shark Tank. The Idea Crucible gives educators the opportunity to pitch their classroom and schoolwide project ideas to a panel of judges, in hopes of receiving a grant from WakeEd Partnership. Many schools applied, but only four have made it to the final round and will present at World Café. Here are this year’s Idea Crucible pitches:
Carroll Magnet Middle School
Educators at Carroll Magnet Middle School want to transform their school courtyard into an outdoor learning lab that will immerse students in real-world, interdisciplinary projects related to food security, nutrition, ecology, and sustainability. The Carroll Green Machine will enhance their existing gardening space, which consists of a raised garden bed, compost bin, and picnic tables. They plan to add a greenhouse and other essential gardening tools so that this space can be used year-round. This outdoor learning lab will be integrated into student learning throughout their experiences at Carroll. Students will calculate area and unit conversions, study the complexities of plant cells, and have meaningful conversations about food security and sustainability, locally and worldwide. Student leaders want to develop an area where their peers can collaborate with one another and use their hands to make connections. There will also be project management opportunities, as students in the Gardening Club will manage and maintain the space.
East Garner Magnet Middle
Educators at East Garner Middle School want to challenge and engage students in STEM activities using Sphero SPRK+, a robotic ball controlled with an iPad, iPhone, or Smartphone through Bluetooth. Seventh grade science students will use educational apps, with augmented reality technology, to learn the basics of coding, as they manipulate the color and movement of the robot. The project will facilitate student collaboration, as teams compete to complete an obstacle course. Sphero makes the abstract process of programming concrete for students and provides a practical way for them to evaluate and develop their coding skills. Teachers will incorporate the robots into interdisciplinary lessons related to math and physics while also challenging their students’ communication and problem-solving skills.
Inspired by a “toy hacking” event at NC State called “Santa’s Little Hackers,” where over 200 participants modified toys for disabled children, Hilburn Academy students wondered what they could do to adapt toys for kids with special needs. Most toys are not designed with the needs of these children in mind. Their project idea will spark collaboration within the school, as students interview, observe, and interact with special needs classrooms. The insight that they gain will help them determine what modifications need to be made to “typical” toys so that kids with special needs can enjoy them. Using electronics, 3D design, and basic design skills, students will work together to adapt and present modified toys to special needs classrooms. In the future, students hope that community members will make requests for modified toys and that they will be able to participate in larger toy-hacking events.
Wiley International Studies Magnet Elementary School
Wiley educators envision a Global Learning Lab that will create a more collaborative, flexible, and exciting learning environment for their students to address real-world problems with innovative solutions. This new learning space will transform the current media center and have the ability to integrate all subject areas at all grade levels. Students will have the resources and tools to research global problems, pick United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, create models of their ideas, and write about their solutions in Digital Portfolios. They plan to incorporate components of the Lab into monthly “Genius Hour” sessions, allowing educators to introduce their students to new technology, such as Google Expeditions, Dash and Dot Robotics, and LEGO WeDo2.0. They hope that this space will give every student the opportunity to work collaboratively and engage in critical thinking.
World Cafe 2017 Made Possible By: