MINDTOOLS (Elementary School) - Go to Content
Students engage in hands-on STEM activities and learn about digital literacy (technology fluency and applications, team building, collaboration tools, problem based critical thinking), tied to local math , technology and science curriculum while learning and applying basic ethical, safety and security concepts through gaming, modeling and simulation development, all while investigating exciting careers that interconnect the fields of science, technology, engineering and math- emphasis placed on information assurance including cryptography and digital forensics.
Based on the successful Young Scholars Program curriculum developed through a National Science Foundation Research grant, the STEM Mindtools Program:
Programs have been held in after/before school, extension or integrated format delivery. A staff member from the school is recruited to serve as advisor/instructor for the program. We provide professional development, supply materials and content updates, and continue to network, support and connect all instructors for cross pollination of efforts. Sessions typically run between 1 and 1 ½ hours once a week. The year round program typically consists of two 8-10 week sessions over the course of the year. Speakers are scheduled for each semester.
If run as an informal after school program, students are recruited through school efforts; fliers, PTA bulletin, school newsletters and website. Principals work with teachers to also target students. Past efforts have been fruitful in recruiting girls and special needs students (autistic and dyslexic). Take home parent materials are included with all activities. Parents are encouraged to attend at least one session each semester, in addition to the final Student Showcase event held at the end of each term. The program encourages students to continue to stay with the program by offering small give-aways for class challenges (donated by partners), session certificates and yearly participation awards (trophies-which get larger for each year participating).
What are students, teachers and parents saying?
They had so much fun they will be meeting me for lunch to solve the last encrypted puzzle!
For me, the program was a success simply because the kids were truly interested in the program and the prospects of having continued professional opportunities available in the future. I enjoyed having the video clips readily available to me to give me ideas and provide the students with visual. As well as the reference guide to help me refresh my memory on specific software. I also enjoyed the extra hands when you came to support my students. It was extremely helpful. Oh I can't forget the medal and certificates!!! They loved them!!!
This has been so much fun for both Eric and the family. Each week we look forward to hearing what they did and solving problems at the dinner table. His sister can’t wait to join next year. Thank you so much for a great program.
I showed Mrs. [math teacher] what we did. She’s going to bring the whole class down to the lab next week. Isn’t that great!