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Lessons from Out of School

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Here is a peek at some moments from the 7th Annual MOST Conference.
This conference never fails to show me how these programs are bringing exciting and important learning to our children both in and out of schools. Great schools– and schools that want to be great–are wise to pursue partnerships with these programs. The less structured, more fun and experiential model of these programs can reach students which are overlooked or bored in classrooms.

Programs which range from nutrition to robotics to tennis offer students important information and mentors. These programs can fill gaps in the learning and health experiences which many schools no longer provide.

Think of three things that you learned as a child and that you love to do today. How many of those things were taught to you in a classroom and how many did you learn from a parent, friend, or out of school club or organization? Learning is everywhere. Our children will be more successful if we can connect them to their entire universe of learning and growth.

In three hours at the conference, I saw a guided conversation about racism, a session to promote STEM partnerships with the Applied Physics Laboratory, demonstrations of electricity, robotics and physics, a nutritional educational program, a presentation by students who created a world wide tutoring network, and a discussion on generational style differences.

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Ever thought about creating a world wide network of tutoring? You could ask these students how they did it.

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Remember recess? If your students don’t, talk with Playworks about how to get the most out of play at your school.

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If your students want to see how electricity and magnetism work, ask John Walstrum, PH.D at the National Electronics Museum for a demonstration. This piece shows how light striking solar panels can generate electricity to spin the motor and demonstrates polarity.

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Partnerships and collaborations are the best part of the conference. This session explored developing STEM partnerships with one of the premiere scientific laboratories in the world, the Applied Physics Lab.

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Want to see a room jammed with sweaty teenagers intent on only one thing? Go see a robotic competition hosted by Ed Mullin at the Baltimore Robotics Center at 1001 West Pratt Street in Baltimore.

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Rethinking Learning: What lessons can after school programs teach our schools?

posted in: Blog, Multimedia, STEM, STEM learning | 0

During the recent Maryland Out of School Time conference I got a chance to observe lessons from a variety of after school programs. These programs involved the participants in genuine STEM inquiry in ways that are still rare in the schools that I visit.
Exercise and nutritional education that are missing from many schools are alive and well in a variety of after school programs. These programs are helping to keep our children moving, strong, focused and healthy. Remember when all our schools thought that was an important part of their day?
The programs I saw lead with the fun of learning and doing, but involve participants in mastering important concepts, knowledge and skills. Apparently, learning doesn’t have to be boring or disconnected from the world to be successful.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to cross-train formal and informal teachers?

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Can you solve a crime? Conference participants learn how to take and identify fingerprints in a demonstration on forensic science given by the University of Maryland.

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Examining a fingerprint in play dough for loops, arch, and worl.

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What are the properties of Newtonian and Non-Newtonian materials? In the Click 2 Science demonstration, participants were given a variety of materials to mix, stretch, bend, build, squish and take home to continue their exploration of how these materials could be used. Blowing a bubble was an innovation.

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An LED diode and a battery could provide a quick lesson in light, electricity and color at the Maker Lab.

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So what happens when you put a lighted LED set in motion with a small motor in the Maker Lab demonstration? Smiles and “a ha’s”

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Space birds from You Fly Now can teach aerodynamics, building skills, physics, and as shown here, decorating and self awareness skills.
Susan Demorra shows off “Sara Bella” a spacebird she decorated to demonstrate her artistic skills, style and her confident attitude. It doesn’t fly, but it doesn’t need to.

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How many Newton’s does it take to pull a weight up an incline? It’s not a nerd joke, it’s an exercise in physics and architecture from the Salvadori Center.