Teachers and students are leaving the classroom to learn, using outdoor experiences and outside resources to enhance lesson plans.

Leaving the Classroom to LearnAt South Fayette Intermediate School, teachers are learning how to integrated different experiences into STEM related subjects. For example, a group of students learned programming for drones last summer.  “Use everything you’ve learned,” said teacher Michael Lincoln. “Don’t just start doing things. Think before you do.”Those drones were used to perform specific tasks at the STEAM Innovation Summer Institute.  Lincoln’s approach was to teach the students to “code their world.”

“They are no longer just coding on the screen, which many of them have become accustom to doing in their classrooms,” he said. “But now we are getting them to understand the possibilities of designing an environment where a robot and drones can interact and accomplish tasks based on the code that they design.”

Laurie Ruberg, a West Virginia University School of Education visiting assistant professor, is working with teachers to help them choose more options for enhancing their existing plans.  They have so much going on that integrating a whole new program intotheir schedule is difficult, Ruberg said, but by acquiring new skills and ideas, they can add to existing lessons.

“One day you can review the water quality measures in your lab and then another day you can take them out into the field where they do those same analyses,” Ruberg said.

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