STEM - Kool Kat Style

The STEM classroom is the ideal context to introduce elementary students to the wonders of science.

Each of our workshops, STEM units, and teacher resources is a labor of love crafted to make science come alive for your students. Our lessons are the collaborative work of an educator/engineer team with one foot in the classroom and one foot in the workshop. This means that every Kool Kat Science unit is anchored in Next Gen Science Standards yet filled with opportunities to imagine, design, and build solutions to real world challenges.

Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think.

Albert Einstein

Team Based

Our lessons organize student work in design teams because we’ve found that a diverse mix of interests and abilities is the best way to tackle complex design challenges. Each team should have a member with mathematical aptitude, a member with mechanical or crafting skills, a member with drawing ability, and a member good at organizing and planning tasks.

Genuine Design Problems

We believe that STEM experiences should go beyond kit-based predictability. Our STEM units begin with a problem or a challenge. This gives students the opportunity to use their imagination and creativity to design a solution using the materials and tools provided.

Think Like an Engineer

Today’s students are adept at building Lego models and following pictorial directions, but are often unfamiliar with basic tools and construction techniques. Your students live in an engineered world and the STEM classroom is the perfect environment to make students comfortable with building, fixing, and inventing.  The Kool Kat Gizmo Rig lesson is a good example of the sort of test equipment that engineers often build to help them solve problems.

Reflection

STEM and STEAM teaching and learning combines multiple disciplines. We are convinced that the best way to integrate these diverse learning paths is through the STEM Research Notebook or SRN. The SRN is a place for notes, data, designs, and brainstorming.  Each Kool Kat Science lesson includes reflection prompts and tasks tailored to the day’s work.

The Engineering Design Process

When confronted with a design problem, kids intuitively want to jump straight in and start creating. But they will learn more when their design process has structure. The engineering design process (EDP) is a simple, iterative structure that engineering teams use to solve problems.

21st Century Skills

The world that today’s students will step into is much different than that of their parents and grandparents. 21st Century Skills are those skills and understandings identified by educators and businesses as critical for students to master in preparation for success in a digital society.