Monday, December 17, 2018

I recently came across this piece of career counseling advice from Jaime Casap who works for Google, “Don’t ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, but ask what problems they want to solve.  This changes the conversation from who do I want to work for to what do I need to learn to be able to do that.”

A big part of my job is to ensure students are prepared with the skills to be successful in college, their careers, and life--basically, getting them ready to pursue the future of their choosing.  This preparation starts the first day of kindergarten!  I am part of a steering committee for Wisconsin that is charged with aligning K-12 career programming with the high-skill and high-demand needs of business and industry.  The focus of our last meeting was the topic of “Learnability.”

Why does this matter to elementary parents and students?  Learnability is the desire and ability to grow and adapt to new circumstances and challenges throughout one’s life.  With the availability of information on the internet, we need to teach our children strategies to acquire new information and to problem solve independently.  This may take the form of being able to read, observe and listen critically, ask questions, learn through experimentation, infer, collaborating, and think systematically. 

Sound difficult?  Fortunately, our curriculum at Belleville Elementary is positioned to do just this.  We have previously featured our literacy curriculum in newsletters which lends itself to inferring, analyzing, and writing critically.  However, in this blog, I’d like to feature the problem solving, experimentation, and reasoning that is involved in our Project Lead the Way units.

Project Lead the Way Units at Belleville Elementary

4K:  Exposure to STEM
Structure and Function: Exploring Design
Pushes and Pulls
Structure and Function: Human Body
Animals and Algorithms

1st Grade
Light and Sound
Light: Observing the Sun, Moon, and Stars
Animal Adaptations
Animated Storytelling

2nd Grade 
Properties of Matter
Form and Function
The Changing Earth
Grids and Games

3rd Grade 
Stability and Motion: Science of Flight
Stability and Motion: Forces and Flight Variation of Traits
Programming Patterns

4th Grade 
Energy: Collisions
Energy: Conversion
Input/Output: Human Brain
Input/Output: Computer Systems

5th Grade 
VEX IQ Robot Design Kit
Infection: Detection
Infection: Modeling and Simulation

6th Grade
Design & Modeling
App Creators

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