Guest Blog – A STEM Teacher’s Story

Highlighting a Guest Blog - a STEM Teacher’s StoryAt the beginning of this year, I heard my students buzzing about the game Minecraft, which allows players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D generated world. This was an opportunity to infuse 21st century skills with technology in a relevant and meaningful way. Just as Thomas Edison was able to refine his ideas, making them more desirable, it was my intention to adapt a game that students were already highly interested in to make it thought-provoking and engaging.

I changed the premise and purpose of the Minecraft game, and combined it with a method of systems thinking known as DSRP; i.e. a theory and method of thinking, an acronym, standing for Distinctions, Systems, Relationships, and Perspectives. I challenged students to form teams and build a world from one specific perspective-one that uses algae as a fuel source. After some research on algae cultivation and biofuels, the students were able to build, virtually authentic, algae farms.

I was impressed with their ability to understand the relationships between the parts of their system [systems thinking]. This became evident when students decided to put their algae farms next to the power plant so carbon dioxide off-gases from the power plant could be used to promote accelerated algae growth, thereby keeping the off-gases from adversely affecting earth’s ozone layer.

Since this project, we have tackled problems such as disaster preparedness and the waste/trash epidemic, through similar studies. It was amazing to see middle school students attacking real-world problems. This technology has proven to be engaging and also an effective tool to facilitate skills necessary in the 21st century.

Louis Rossi Think STEM Coach Green Hills School Greendell, NJ 07839

Louis Rossi
Think STEM Coach
Green Hills School
Greendell, NJ 07839

Check out this additional info!

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said … “The man who doesn’t make up his mind to cultivate the habit of thinking misses the greatest pleasure in life.

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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