The February KBAY Teacher of the Month is Christine Campbell who received a grant to purchase simple materials for engineering projects.
Grant uses household and hardware items to teach engineering design
Christine Campbell received a Wells Fargo Teacher Innovation Classroom Grant from the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF) to purchase materials for engineering design.
“The purpose of the SVEF Innovation Grant that was funded for our classes was to purchase materials for inquiry-based STEM engineering and design activities. The funding will make it possible for students to build spaghetti bridges, luge runs, roller coasters, cars, parachutes, catapults, launchers, marble runs, towers, and more; as time allows. ”
Among the items the students will use are pipe insulation, ping pong balls, masking and duct tape, toothpicks, bubble-wrap and many other simple materials found in the home or at the local hardware store.
“This is the first year I have taught where the design of the classes is inquiry-based. With the open-ended nature; creative juices for both the students and me are flowing. We are all learning a new way of “learning.” The “design process” that we are using is borrowed from PBS’s Design Squad. The students are given their challenge. Then they: identify the problem, brainstorm, build, redesign, test and evaluate, and share their solution. They are learning that it takes several prototypes before an effective prototype is created. My job is more that of the facilitator. I listen in as the teams work and ask clarifying questions; many times I just listen and watch. We have worked hard on cooperative group skills and the importance of all members contributing”
Dartmouth Middle School, Union School District
“The Dartmouth staff is a community of people who truly care about their students. I was inspired to get a job here when my son and daughter attended Dartmouth. When I attended Back to School Night for my children in 6th grade, one of the teachers said that if my children needed help in math, they could get help from any 6th grade math teacher, because they all planned together. The science teacher said that if my children were in need of a place to hang out at lunch, her room was open at lunch. This is the kind of staff Dartmouth has. I have been working here for three years and the staff is incredibly dedicated and positive. Dartmouth Middle School is an empowering place to teach and learn. ”
The ongoing classroom challenge
“Some of my students are happy to sit back and let others do the work. I deal with this by being on my feet and roving to the groups, asking questions, observing, and actively teaching cooperation and group skills. Also, I provide high-interest activities that are engaging.”
“I teach 6th grade Earth Science and two 7th grade Engineering and Design Electives at Dartmouth Middle School. I have been teaching at Dartmouth for three years. Prior to that I taught nine years in the Cupertino Union School District where I taught 6th, 5th, and 1st grade. My undergraduate degree is from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. My Master’s Degree is from San Jose State University. In between my two teaching jobs, I was lucky to stay home with my children Lyndsey and Ryan, who are now 15 years old. Our entire family dotes on our English bulldog, Meatball.”
“What I like most about being a teacher is being able to watch students actively engaged in the learning process: discussing (perhaps even disagreeing), drawing, building, testing, and evaluating. It is especially exciting when their designs flop, and they keep persevering.”
Quote - “I provide high-interest activities that are engaging.”
The Teacher of the Month received $1,000 Grant courtesy of Silicon Valley Education Foundation!
About Silicon Valley Education Foundation
As a leading non-profit resource and advocate for students, educators and administrators, Silicon Valley Education Foundation is dedicated to elevating scholastic achievement. Since 2006, more than 750 Teacher Innovation Grants have been awarded to local educators to inspire student learning in and outside of classrooms. SVEF’s mission is to make Silicon Valley the leader in academically prepared high school graduates.
How Can I Support Public Education?
Our local community’s vision is a technologically, innovative Silicon Valley where public school investment results in a strong and sustainable economy and a future workforce is created from local talent. Today, nearly 50% of high school graduates in Santa Clara County are not eligible to attend a four-year California university. SVEF is working with schools to reverse this trend by offering critical math and science programs to prepare students for college and career success. Make a difference in the lives of Silicon Valley students by donating to these crucial programs.
The continued improvement of student achievement in public education relies upon the generosity of our donors and partners. To find out more about how you can help SVEF academically prepare more Silicon Valley students for future success, visit www.svefoundation.org.