A Trajectory to Innovation: Parker Receives Grant from Time Warner Cable
As the world becomes more connected, information is becoming ubiquitous. Today’s learners don’t need more facts; they need to think creatively, to engage with complexity, and to work towards mastery. Robert C. Parker School is a small school with a big agenda, for our own students, and for all of the students we reach with after-school and summer school programs.
With this in mind math teacher, Shelli Casler-Failing applied to Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds Program for a $5,000 grant to expand our robotics program throughout our math and science classrooms. Yesterday, she got the word – our grant was approved! Parker will now be able to purchase twelve new LEGO MINDSTORMS robot kits, the software, site license and curriculum.
In developing 21st century skills, Parker focuses on STEM education. To develop critical thinking, collaboration skills, creativity, and communication skills learners need hands-on challenges and experiences. Our mathematics and science curricula afford students opportunities to learn about concepts through real-world applications, which makes the learning personally relevant and meaningful.
What inspires our teachers to advance this robotics program, is how directly its potential aligns with all eight of New York’s Common Core Standards for Mathematics:
1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them;
2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively;
3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others;
4. Model with mathematics;
5. Use appropriate tools strategically;
6. Attend to precision;
7. Look for and make use of structure; and
8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
We also know from experience that the program engages students so thoroughly, that as they develop these critical skills, they have fun, work hard, push through setbacks, and problem-solve to completion; a wonderful trajectory of innovation.
In order to offer all of our students an even more challenging and rewarding experience, we will integrate LEGO Robotics into the mathematics and science curricula. Two of our teachers have partnered with the Center for Initiatives in Pre-College Education (CIPCE) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) to collaborate with other Capital District Educators to create curricula that promotes problem-solving and critical thinking skills, perseverance, and technological applications while simultaneously learning about mathematics and science.
Meg Taylor, Head