Trying to teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in the classroom can often seem disjointed. Having a STEM teaching tool that links those fields all together so learners can see how amazingly integrated they really would be perfect. Right? And that is where the geosciences really come into their own. There really is no better discipline to show students how all fields of STEM are integrated. And of all the geosciences, it is volcanology that excites students the most.
School students are fascinated by two things - things that kill people (natural disasters being top of the list) and things that are 'rude' (and let's leave those to the health and biology teachers for now). Of the natural disasters, volcanoes top the list. They are dramatic. They are visible (compared to faults that cause earthquakes). And many have or will see one in their lifetime.
And so knowing the need for a STEM teaching tool and students fascination with volcanoes, we have developed the STEM on an Active Volcano educational resource.
This resource contains a video that is broken down into segments on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics all based about the active volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii. The video segments explain these topics with practical examples and subtly show students STEM field careers. Each segment is short - less than 10 mins - so they can be seen at the start of a class period as a way stimulus to further discussion and activities. The whole video could also be used as an introduction (it's 33 mins long) to a series of classroom activities.
As well as the video, the teacher's guide contains an 'active-listening' sheets for each topic that students can use to listen and record answers to the video content. Each topic also has a reproducible classroom activity that allows students to use data to work on a specific problem related to each topic.
And so a class period can be filled with a video, discussion of the active listening questions followed by the activity. Perfect!
(You can download this sample activity for FREE here)
And what is more, for the US teachers, it is linked to the NGSS and Mathematics Common Core standards. (See how here)
This was a long-term project that involved considerable research, script writing, filming, teaching resources development. We roped in experts to help with animations and original music. But most of all, we found a videographer/editor who not only loved geology but was willing to come into the field and shoot footage to add some of the most awesome teaching scenes.
But the outcome is an awesome teaching tool that will fit perfectly into one or a few periods.
If you are a homeschooler - this provides you with a perfect segway into applications of science. The 'active listening' tools and the activities can show you how much your child is learning as you go. It is perfect for self-centered learning.
I know that I love volcanoes - and I hope this resource will help you and your students to fall a little bit in love with them as well.