TEC Play And Lesson Plans: T+S In STEM: Inquiry And Research
By: Jenna Herdzina – September 21, 2018
A feeling of apprehension often arises when TEC Center mentions using technology to explore nature or when we see children with iPads and digital microscopes in their classroom garden or neighborhood park investigating their environment. Many fear technology breaking or believe nature should be a “tech-free” zone. However, all fears and misconceptions usually dissipate around using technology as a tool to explore and discover nature after educators, parents and children have the opportunity to support children’s curiosity and reflection on how the world around them works. TEC Center is committed to supporting educators and parents as they navigate connecting the T+S in STEM.
Play and Lesson Plans designed by TEC Center professional development participants:
In this play and lesson plan, nature is brought into the classroom virtually. Ms. Cassidy displays video and pictures on the classroom Promethean board. With beginning readers, research often looks like group discussion with audio and visual aids in the form of videos and pictures. Through these observations and discussions is how students conduct their research and inquiry.
Ms. Cunningham’s students conduct their research and inquiry by bringing outside objects (sticks, leaves, etc.) into the classroom and by using a digital microscope to make observations. This activity could serve as an entry point into place-based learning. Interested in learning more about place-based learning? Here’s a definition and tips for place-based education and learning.
Ms. Wiora highlights the importance of teacher facilitation of media literacy skills in this play or lesson plan. Media literacy is a strong component of research and inquiry using digital media tools.
As you read these plans note that many of them use photography and video that include images of children. The TEC Center promotes and believes that children have the right to know how and where their images and voices will be used and the right to refuse sharing their images, voices and work online.
Before you take pictures or video of children remember to:
talk to your school leadership first about your plans
ask parents/guardians to sign a release form provided by the school or program
ask each child for permission and tell children how their images will be used
protect a child’s privacy and digital footprint by putting a shape or positive emoji over a child’s face before sharing it on social media platforms to protect a child’s privacy
Before sharing images of children with parents and caregivers make sure to review guidelines for protecting their privacy with parents, including reminding parents to
ask for permission from your child if you can post an image, video or project online and respect your child’s wishes
share with care and post images of only your child online
be positive and a good digital citizen by posting only positive comments, photos and videos a child would be proud to show someone later in life-never shame your own child or another child online
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