The Lighthouse initiatives at Pikesville High School have played an integral part in successfully implementing the Project Lead the Way Engineering Design and Development Capstone Course. The students work in groups of four to research a real-world, current problem and develop a testable solution to the problem over the course of the year; the engineering design process is closely followed every step of the way. In prior lessons, each student generated three-to-four concept sketches that presented a proposed solution to their group’s problem. At beginning of this lesson, each group had already narrowed their proposed solutions down to three-to-four. Throughout the course of this lesson, students rotated to each group to provide feedback in order to aid in determining a final solution to the proposed project. The students left physical post-it notes on the designs while they rotated, as well as comments on each group’s online virtual engineering notebook. With the use of the physical post-it notes and the devices to access virtual notebooks, students were able to provide each other with comments, questions, and other various forms of feedback. The students were heavily engaged in this lesson and were forced to think outside-of-the-box in order provide meaningful feedback to their classmates. Although this lesson could be implemented without the use of the device, the opportunity for students to provide feedback to online engineering journals was more engaging for students and provided the opportunity for digital documentation.
Throughout the second unit of Social Studies the 5th graders learned about the events leading up to and during the American Revolution. Throughout the lessons students were engaged and motivated by the opportunity to role play, discuss and write about what they were learning. In light of the mannequin challenge trend we decided to create a Revolution Mannequin Challenge. Groups of 5th graders designed props, created sceneries, and directed their classmates to pose and represent the event they were assigned. Each group also wrote a narration to accompany their mannequin challenge scene. The final product will be a complete retelling of the Revolution. Here is what students had to say about this project:
Having a role in education during this transformation of teaching and learning is exhilarating! Not only have educators adapted learner-centered strategies, but they have incorporated technology in their daily lessons, and students are largely benefitting from both.
Students in Mrs. Rounsaville-Houchens’ science class conducted research on a disease, condition, or disability. Milana Klopouh, a seventh grader at Ridgely Middle School, shares information about the process. “We are able to choose from a list of diseases, or Mrs. Houchens says she will approve something not on the list, if we have other ideas. Our group is researching Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS. We are curious about it because of the several Ice Bucket Challenges online, but we really don’t know too much about it besides what we see in the videos that have gone viral.”
Milana explained that students are given a scenario about the need to raise public awareness on the topic. She shares that there is extensive criteria to provide in a PowerPoint or no-tech option. The criteria includes, “a description of the disease, causes, incubation period, communicability, signs and symptoms…,” she adds. The list goes on. Also, students are to identify affected body systems, the present state of research, and how the disease progressed through history. The impact on family adds a personal touch to the project, according to the student. In many cases, students went to neighbors or loved ones to get a personal perspective on the topic. “Someone in our group has a mom in nursing, and my parent is a pharmacist, so they were able to weigh in with some personal experiences,” Milana said.
The actual process included receiving instruction from the library media specialist around research and citations. Then, it is up to the students to gather information. Milana explained that students are expected to save notes on all the criteria, rather than dividing it up. “Mrs. Houchens said that all of us should research all of the criteria because we are reading different articles. She didn’t want us to miss anything. Microsoft 365 allows us to share our notes with each other, and it also allows multiple group members to edit our PowerPoint at the same time. It’s definitely better than facetiming on our phones.”
Mrs. Rounsaville-Houchens and her colleagues at Ridgely are making students 21st century-ready. Learning with critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity is making a difference for our students.
In effort, to prepare students for college and the workforce, Church Lane Elementary students participated in their first Church Lane Elementary College Tour. Fourth and Fifth grade teachers and their school counselor collaborated in effort to promote college readiness and a general understanding of the college experience. Through classroom guidance, students were introduced to and discussed the need for college and vocational training. With support from their classroom teachers, students in 8 classrooms worked hard and obtained information about a specific Maryland College. Each class created a display highlighting information about their specific Maryland College. Using the student created displays, students took a “College Tour”. Students read for information and completed a “scavenger hunt” to gain knowledge about college programs, tuition and extracurricular activities. All students upon tour completion received badges that said, “I am on the road to success”. Keeping with that theme, students then reflected and wrote on posters about what would STOP them on their road to success and what help them GO in the right direction. Prior to the College Tour, students had the opportunity to meet with 16 college students. In a panel discussion, 4th and 5th graders were able to ask questions to current college students and gain understanding about education and career options in their future. Students enjoyed the hands on and engaging opportunity to experience college using technology and discussion.
History came alive this year for students in Windsor Mill Middle School social studies classes. Department Chair, Rick Kline, transformed desks into super pods and designed inquiry-based projects for his classes. In March, students ran an election campaign to elect the most effective leader for ancient Rome. Students selected candidates and created Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and commercials to garner support leading up to the final debate and vote. In April, students researched the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages to determine if the price of the church’s influence was worth the cost. Students vigorously defended their positions with textual references during a lively Philosophical Chair. In May, Chelsea Bracci from the Maryland Historical Society beamed into the classroom, leading a virtual lesson on National Anthems using the Star Spangled Banner original document as a primary source.
Through a reading lesson in the fifth grade curriculum, students at Rodgers Forge discovered that our wonderful BrainPop database does not include a video clip for the historical event of Black Sunday. So, they were tasked with the job of creating one! Students were first engaged in authentic research using other databases through the BCPS One platform in order to learn about Black Sunday and take notes on the event. Then, they integrated this information, which was gathered from multiple sources, and drafted a script for their simulated BrainPop video. Some students chose the format of a recording a paper slide show, while others chose to act out their skit live and film it. This example of authentic learning was incredibly meaningful to students, as they took ownership of this project and were excited to share their new learning with others.
Created by Bennett Frank and Nora Sevidal, 5th Grade Students at Rodgers Forge E.S.
Fifth graders at Church Lane Elementary participated in multiple activities surrounding the language arts unit “Transformative Ideas”. Students in 5th grade have been reading, writing, and researching about inventions that have not only transformed over the years but have transformed the way people live their lives. Students were first assigned partners and then were given the option to research either the phonograph, television, or airplane. Each pair had to read an article and watch a video about how their chosen invention was similar and different from when it was first created to nowadays. After their research was complete, students had to work to create a visual presentation using either Glogster, Wixie, or Popplet to display their findings on the classroom bulletin board. When student pairs completed their visual presentation of information, they got to create 3D models of either the original or newer model of their invention. With the help of some faculty members and the students themselves, recyclable materials such as toilet paper rolls, water bottles, and shoeboxes were brought in for the students to use to build their models. Students researched a picture of the model they needed to replicate and then used their creativity to build the invention. A few pairs were chosen to present their research and models at Church Lane’s Night of Innovation for the community to see. As an extension activity, the entire 5th grade met in one classroom to go on a virtual field trip to the Thomas Edison Historical Museum in New Jersey. Through the trip, students were able to see examples of artifacts, machinery, and Thomas Edison’s inventions (including the phonograph!) and ask/answer questions from the tour guide skyping with us!
Submitted by Stacy Siegel
Reading Specialist, Fort Garrison Elementary
Third grade students at Fort Garrison Elementary worked with art teacher Grace Hulse and media specialist Lindsay O’Donnell to build a unique structure on their school grounds. Each student selected an insect that is native to Maryland and using their devices completed research about their insects. The students identified what their insect does over the winter: lay eggs and die, hibernate, nest, or migrate.
For nesting and hibernating insects the students constructed a “bug hotel” to provide a welcoming place to spend the cold winter months. The hotel, created from natural materials provides shelter for pollinators and pest controllers.
The FGES hotel was built by stacking pallets and bricks to make a three story structure. Students brought in plastic two liter bottles, bamboo stalks, clay pots, and twigs from home. Additional materials (pine cones, leaves, bark) were collected on the school grounds and nature trail.
Students sorted materials and arranged them in plastic bottles, cigar boxes, and bundles. The various containers were aesthetically arranged on the pallets. The hotel was topped off with potted plants and a sign to welcome visitors!
Second grade students selected an animal to research in order to answer the question: How do animals grow and survive in the natural world? Students read and viewed print and digital media to gather information to answer the research question. Students took notes, composed paragraphs, and added text features to share key information in a class book. Students then made a class video to share interesting facts from their research using Animoto.
Reflections from teachers, administrators, and students at the Lighthouse Schools.