Imagineering in a Box is designed to pull back the curtain to show students in middle school and high school how artists, designers, and engineers work together to create theme parks. The program, from Khan Academy, takes a behind-the-scenes look with Disney Imagineers and makes it an active learning experience by weaving together videos and exercises into lessons that culminate in student-driven projects. The goal is to make students aware of careers they never knew existed and deepen their understanding of the process, concepts, and terminology of the creative workplace. The content can be used in a wide range of contexts: the arts, humanities, math, and science. It can be used as part of a one-week to one-month-long project that students can do alone or in groups. As in the workplace, all of the lessons are interdisciplinary, yet focused in different ways. Lesson 1, “Creating Worlds,” is art and design focused (activities done with physical materials). Lesson 2, “Designing Attractions,” is art and math focused (physical and computer-based activities). Lesson 3, “Bringing Characters to Life,” is art and engineering focused (physical and computer-based activities). An Educator’s guide for each lesson summarizes the activities for that lesson.
In smaller rural schools, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education can face troublesome barriers. In our K–12 district of 730 students, we have many of the common obstacles, including limited funds, no extra faculty, and an already overloaded class schedule. These three join arms to block us from using any of the really cool programs we’d like to. Other institutions sing praises of cutting-edge programs and share their successes. Meanwhile, rural schools are trying to figure out how to educate equally deserving kids in STEM.
Each month we publish blogs and several newsletters full of digital learning, funding, professional growth, social media, and STEM resources. Below are items from our blogs and newsletters that educators turned to the most in May.