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Showing Colleen Howard

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First Place

6-8 | Science & Tech | Other

Station None in None

My Classroom Innovation

My classroom innovation is a simulated mission into space. When I began this journey I was a fifth grade classroom teacher at an elementary school in Mesa, Arizona. Realizing that the excitement of space travel raises a high level of enthusiasm from students of all ages this seemed like a great way to capture their imagination and inspire a lifelong love for learning! By definition, innovator means to make changes in something established. In other words, to blaze a new trail! By taking students out of their classroom, away from their desk and textbooks they were certainly going where none had gone before. Being an innovator requires that you step out of your box and take a new approach to the ordinary. The last few years have brought many opportunities for expansion. Using grant money, we have been able to design and build an orbiter and space station as well as purchase materials for a mock mission control. Now aligned to sixth grade national standards across the curriculum, the missions are used district-wide: one mission, per sixth-grade class, per day. Each mission can actively involve up to 35 students in an all-day learning experience.

How Students were Engaged

Elementary science programs have long been associated with reading about science as opposed to involving students in the scientific process. The Space Integration Module has taken this theory to a new level, providing an opportunity to apply knowledge to real-life scenarios. Using technology, robotics, and inquiry, students experience the importance of leadership, collaboration and communication as they work toward a common goal. Students constantly analyze information and make inferences in an effort to propose solutions to the difficulties presented to them. Problem solving as a team becomes an invaluable tool to success, creating confidence and an eagerness to learn more

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