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The STEM Train!

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Keywords: Filmmaking
Subject(s): Video, Social Skills, Technology, Science
Grades 7 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Zan Holmes Middle School, Dallas, TX
Planned By: Kendria Johnson
Original Author: Kendria Johnson, Dallas
Subject: Science
Author: K. Johnson
Grade Level: 7th Grade and 8th Grade
Time Duration: 6 months

The project will be operated in phases.

Phase I
Students will be introduced to the proper use of technology. They must learn to respect hand-held cameras, digital software and copyright laws. Hand-held phones are common but how can we use this device to stimulate learning?

As a teacher, I was frustrated one day when my students could not do a simple PowerPoint presentation. We had to abandon the task completely because I became a computer teacher instead of leading a Lab Investigation. We resorted to pen and paper. Pencil and paper are not necessarily a bad thing, but when is the last time you attended a seminar, workshop or meeting where the presenter gave you a pen and said write this down as I speak. With this program, everything must be digital and transferrable using computers, software, or electronic devices.

Phase II During School
Students will become familiar with the software after watching me demonstrate and will become proficient with using the software to create video projects.

Phase III Afterschool Program
Students will become experts in video presentations and be able to present their projects orally using the equipment provided. Students will specialize in becoming presenters of knowledge. Our goal is to create the next great orator using modern visuals. They will use microphones and wireless mice to engage their audience and tell stories. Those who are uncomfortable with oral presentations can use voice over technology to create projects.

An example of voice over technology is extremely simple (See additional information provided on CD)

Due to budget cuts, projects like STEM Train are considered to be “extracurricular” when they don’t have to be. I have heard of schools within our district where teachers video tape their lectures and students can go online and replay them that night. This process is not far off! We can use what the students already have and give them tools to use throughout their educational career.

Why not use the technology age as a catalyst for a new style of learning.

1. Step1 Students learn from the teacher through lecture, demonstration or written curriculum (textbooks).
2. Step2 Students practice what they learned in class in groups or individual study.
3. Step 3 Students take a written test at the end of the week to test what they have learned.

NOW…students can have Facebook, Teacher Tube and other educational websites rhey can study from at home. 100% of the Science Curriculum for 5th Grade is online. STEMscopes.com is sponsored by Rice University. Using this program grossly limited my students’ ability to participate during class. It became increasingly obvious that not all students have internet at home.

Objective Instructional Activity Evaluation Tool Anticipated Result
Create a PowerPoint Presentation All About Me PowerPoint
Criteria Chart
PowerPoint Presentations
Sept. 1st- December 14, 2012
Video Presentations “A Day in the Life” Digital/Video Jan -February 15, 2013
Short Film Project/ Presentation “You Are the Speaker!” Digital 3-D Film!
Rubric March 22, 2013


Equipment Use

Equipment Purpose

Speakers Thelaptop will be for creating the films from student work.

The speakers are for more sound just in case we need to hear the sound better.
Digital Cameras This will be a class set of digital cameras for students who do not have access to cameras or camera phones. This will be used to create short films and projects for students.
Wireless Microphone System Students will use the microphone system to deliver speeches about their projects.

Remote Mouse The remote mouse will be for students to “perform” their video presentations.
Projector The projector will be mobile and not connected to a wall so students can display their video presentations anywhere in the school.
Laptop Recovery System The entire system will be locked in a cabinet on campus but in the event this equipment leaves the campus involuntarily, there will be a chip in place.

Activities and Procedures:

Instructional Technology Program from DISD

Some grant requirements suggests that the projects be innovative requests that are not regularly purchased by the district. Due to budget cuts, the instructional technology department is almost non-existent.

The Teacher Laptop Program no longer exists. The budget for technology has been slashed considerably and even if there is technology for us, I have heard they are waiting for, there has been no indication that I will receive instructional technology because we exist in the Portable Universe. In the Portable Universe, we are not allowed to use technology in our classrooms every day.

I have waited patiently for the opportunity to receive new technology such as a new laptop and even speakers for my desktop, but have yet to receive this technology for myself. Any technology I use is borrowed. We were told that the Science desktops and laptops are to be used inside the building ONLY. The Elmo machine and projector are not allowed outside the Science Lab. The equipment( i.e., Smartboards, projectors and laptops) that is for Science, is shared with the entire school campus.
Personal Philosophy

I own and operate a non-profit organization that specializes in getting girls into Science. It’s like a Science Club but it’s more of a self-esteem training course. We teach them to take the “hard courses”(that are STEM related) in school. We teach them to not be afraid of tackling the tougher subjects because you think it’s too hard. I also do a workshop on scholarships for college. With the help of grants such as yours, these students will get hands-on technical experience facilitated by 21st century technology. I mention this because students need this skill to get scholarships and grants for college. If they learn how to manipulate modern technology now, they will be able to use this for their education resume later.
For every grant I apply for my students, there are ten more that ask for technology based entries.
Some of them ask for short videos, uplinks or YouTube video presentations. Students can begin using the social media as a way to further their educational career.

I will be using this new equipment to a new school. With a new building and newer facilities, I feel more comfortable asking for these types of materials. With the help of your grant, I will be able to actually use the technology that is set aside for me. It will be mobile as well but stored and used by only me and my students. It will be locked and loaded up inside a classroom in the building BUT only for our use.

Cross-Curriculum Ideas
The filmmaker STEM project will help English and Speech teachers because students must practice an oral presentation or do voice over work to compliment their video projects.
The follow up materials such as the videos will keepsakes for the students. It can be used for future scholarship applications or the enter contest for them. If they choose to discard their presentations, they will always carry the skill. The Evaluation tools used to grade the project will be given to each student or group.
Materials: DVD Camcorder, Digital Cameras, Portable, Microphones, Televisions, DVD/VCR Players, LCD Monitors, Headsets, Flash/USB Drives, Middle, Speech and Language
Other Items: 1 Laptop, $549.99 each, total of $549.99
1 Remote Mouse, $39.99 each, total of $39.99
1 Speaker System, $33.95 each, total of $33.95
1 Wireless Microphone, $179.99 each, total of $179.99