Moving from teaching STEM to doing STEM

Moving from Teaching STEM to Doing STEM

Dr. Robin Ellwood moved from lecture to hands-on STEM with her eighth graders and shows us how. Robin's students designed a remote underwater vehicle (ROV) that  went to Antarctica. She was intimidated when she started thinking about it. But she learned it with the kids as she went.

What blows my mind is that Robin has her PhD and yet she still learned how to make the ROV together with her students. Robin's transparency encourages all of us to a new model of learning in the STEM classroom. Robin even shares her first “disaster” and how she turned it into a dream. Hands-on exploration is the way to go with kids and STEM!


[button href=”” primary=”true” centered=”true” newwindow=”true”]Learn about a Wonder Workshop robotics club[/button]

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Thank you, Wonder Workshop, Today's Sponsor


Last year I judged a robotics competition for Wonder Workshop. I was amazed at the incredible things students could do with Dash and Dot. This would make a great summer activity at home for kids or check out their robotics clubs.

[callout]Today’s Sponsor is Wonder Workshop: The Wonder Workshop robotics club is a great way to get students excited about STEM.

Sign up to start a club(They have some cool things to help you get going.)

My son loves the Dash and Dot robots from Wonder Workshop. He’ll be programming them over the summer as I continue to reinforce Computer Science at home.


Show Notes:

  • How Dr. Ellwood didn't know everything but didn't let that stop her.
  • How students and Robin learned together about how to make the underwater ROV.
  • What are the things that almost stopped Robin from moving to hands-on learning in STEM?
  • How Robin enjoys teaching so much more with this new model of STEM teaching.
  • The active, messy learning that happens now that Robin's class does STEM.
  • Robin shares her first failures as she tried to make this move and how she pushed passed it and helped the class have a common language.
  • How classroom disasters don't have to be career ending! You can turn them into a dream!
  • How DOING STEM forces us to move from scripting. Robin shares her views on authentic direction versus scripting.
  • The balance that challenges kids appropriately at their cognitive level without overwhelming them.

Robin Elwood has a bachelor's degree in zoology, a master's and doctorate degree in science education, and has been an 8th grade science teacher for 24 years; she has particular passions for inquiry-based and STEM-based science education and strives to have her students participate in “real-world” science, such as building, testing, and deploying an underwater ROV into the icy depths of Antarctica!

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[callout]Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. The sponsor does not influence or endorse the content of the show. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”[/callout]

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere