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MakerMinded makes it – into EdWeek!

MakerMinded welding event

by Heather Sherman at Battelle

The MakerMinded program aims to help students engage in STEM activities, learn about career opportunities in advanced manufacturing, and develop skills to participate in the future workforce.   We partnered with LIFT (Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow) to expand MakerMinded into Ohio this year.  Last week, EdWeek’s Benjamin Herold wrote a piece about how MakerMinded is engaging students across the state: Reviving the Manufacturing Sector, Starting in Middle School

As the lead for the MakerMinded project, I was thrilled to read about some of the schools where the program has been most successful. In this post, I’ve pulled out a few of my favorite sections from the piece. I’ve added in a few notes about what stuck out to me about each one.

But first, two important notes! There are still a few days left to log your points for scoring in Ohio’s MakerMinded competition. Then, I hope you’ll join me, representatives from LIFT, and many other STEM advocates in July.

Second, awards for the top scoring schools will be presented at the 2018 Connections to Education Conference in July 23rd. This is OSLN’s big summer gathering and, for the first time, we’re teaming up with the Ohio Association of Career Technical Education. After we kick off the conference with a range of special events, including the 2018 MakerMinded awards, stick around for two full days of great sessions and keynote speakers. Tickets are still left but are expected to sell out so don’t delay. And STEM schools may qualify for a discounted rate. Read all about it here: Join us at the 2018 Connections to Education Conference. Plus, check out this packed agenda for the event.

But now, back to the article! I loved this perspective from one of the experts in the piece:

Even some skeptics of decades’ worth of warnings about a STEM worker shortage expressed enthusiasm about the group’s approach. “There is a lot to like about this kind of data-driven approach to connecting educational activities with the world of current and future careers,” said Michael S. Teitelbaum, a senior research associate at the labor and worklife program at Harvard University….(W)hy start in middle school?

“That’s where students begin to have more opportunities to select courses,” said Emily DeRocco of LIFT. “It’s also a place to capture their creative spirit and reintroduce them to fields that have changed significantly from the jobs their parents may have lost.” Read the full piece here

Benjamin Herold also talked to educators using MakerMinded in their own schools.

Woodward Park Middle School in Columbus has taken the competition by storm! The 6th and 7th grade building just joined MakerMinded in February, and with the great support of their STEM teacher, Christopher Daniel, they are one of the top four schools in the competition. Check out what Chris had to say:

“I believe my job is to get my students interested in STEM and have them follow up when they get to high school. I throw them in feet first, then let them explore.” – Christopher Daniel, Columbus, EdWeek article

Alliance City schools used MakerMinded as the core of their STEM afterschool program—incorporating a variety of MakerMinded activities, like design challenges, and meetings with industry experts to engage students curiosity and build foundational knowledge will eventually apply in the workforce.

“At schools such as Alliance, DeRocco said, LIFT hopes to help middle schoolers see that fun experiments requiring them to figure out the best resources to make something is actually the foundation for those kinds of high-paying advanced manufacturing jobs.” EdWeek article

Graham Middle School’s recent field trip to the Honeywell plant in Urbana, Ohio gave 75 students a first hand look at manufacturing airplane lights, and a taste of what work in modern manufacturing looks like.  As an extra bonus, that trip to Honeywell was also worth many points in MakerMinded for Graham’s students.

For Graham Middle, the MakerMinded competition has been a way to expand and extend many of the activities that were already taking place, while also injecting an element of fun and earning some outside recognition. EdWeek article

We’re just wrapping up this year’s competition.  June 15th is our last day and are eagerly waiting to see which of our top contenders will win one of the three grand prizes. Log those points and I will see you in July!

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