Dr. Kyle Peck and his team at Penn State are developing a national STEM education program called "DIY-STEM". The goal is to provide a boxed "kit" and online curriculum that nearly anyone who works with kids grades 5-12 can use to teach engineering, design thinking, and innovation.
DIY-STEM is a collaborative effort pooling the talents and resources of universities, government agencies, corporations, and individuals to engage students in an ever-expanding series of high-interest activities that develop the skills and interest enabling success in STEM-related careers.
In the fall of 2013 I worked closely with Dr. Peck and his team to pilot the DIY-STEM program at a K-8 charter middle school in Asheville, North Carolina. I taught a 9 week class to students in grades 6-8 called "Introduction to Engineering" which was based on the DIY-STEM materials.
Dr. Peck writes...
- Tom has emerged as both a key thinker influencing our direction, and a great model of what we think STEM teaching should be.
- Few teachers maintain the zeal with which Tom approaches teaching
- I found Tom to be such a thoughtful, dedicated, creative educator with great instincts for teaching
Click on the link below to download the letter of recommendation Dr. Peck wrote on my behalf.
Click on the link below to view photos from some of the pilot classes:
Photo Below -- Group problem solving event: Using all the supplied pieces of PVC pipe, create a closed circuit.
Photo Below -- Working in teams of two, students build an electric car. This car was designed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).
Photo Below -- Students are given a challenge to arrange the gears on the electric car in such a way that it can climb the inclined board.
Photo Below -- While working on the electric car engineering design challenge (car must climb up the inclined board), students reference the gears on the mountain bike.
Photo Below -- Students test their electric car design on the inclined board.
Photo Below -- One team attempts to find a "four wheel drive" solution to the inclined board challenge.
Photo Below -- Learning how to use a multimeter.
Photo Below -- Measuring the amount of force in Newtons produced by the pulling electric car.