Why TeacherGeek?

The Science Behind TeacherGeek:  Critical Resource for Students and Innovators. 

The information on this page is available for download as the TeacherGeek White Paper:

TeacherGeek White Paper -PDF document

 

Introduction: Why TeacherGeek?

  • TeacherGeek engages the hands and minds of students and teachers alike with a broad range of exciting and inspiring STEM education activities and concepts.

  • TeacherGeek is a high level solution to increasing STEM skills that is built on sound research, is evidence-based, and represents best practices in education.

  • TeacherGeek is true science and engineering that responds to the needs of students, teachers, parents, and schools, fosters creativity and innovation, and prepares students for work and careers.

  • TeacherGeek is trans-disciplinary, offering explicit links to Math and ELA standards and instruction.

 

True Science & Engineering

  • Students create unique solutions through scientific and engineering methods that are process-, performance-, and goal-driven.

Various design solutions from the same set of TeacherGeek components

Data-driven Design

  • Science and engineering projects may fail to provide usable and consistent data if the materials perform unreliably. Without reliable data to drive the science and engineering processes, projects are reduced to craft activities.
  • TeacherGeek components allow for designs which test accurately and consistently, so engineering can be driven by scientific research and method.

 

Facilitates Critical Thinking

Students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

  • TeacherGeek offers a problem-based approach to learning that focuses on the experience and requires students to apply the engineering process of investigating, proposing, creating, and evaluating solutions. As a result, students learn how to ask scientific questions, gather information, and analyze it to solve problems (Strobel et al., 2013).
  • When students investigate subject matter through hands-on activities and problem-based learning, they learn content as well as critical thinking strategies and self-directed learning skills (Hmelo-Silver, 2004).

 

Promotes Student Engagement

Students are focused and on-task.

  • Teachers using TeacherGeek report engaged students who are excited to learn. Educators who use hands-on learning also report increases in student engagement, knowledge retention, and learner independence (Haury & Rillero, 1994; Schoerning & Hand, 2013).
  • Engaged students are better able to comprehend complex ideas, master difficult skills, and increase their achievement. Positive student engagement is related to higher achievement and lower drop-out rates (Fredricks et al., 2011). 

 

Encourages Teamwork

Students work together to solve problems.

  • Through TeacherGeek, students learn to work productively with other team members who may have different socioeconomic backgrounds, different learning styles, and different cultures. As a result, learning is enriched and students are better prepared to take their place in the business world.
  • Businesses complain that our education system fails to teach students the 21st-century skills needed for the work world, such as problem-solving, communication, and the ability to work well in teams (Casner-Lotto and Barrington, 2006).
  • Entrepreneurship and learning through design criticism is facilitated through collaboration and teamwork (West & Hannafin, 2011).

 

Empowers Students

Students can showcase their abilities.

  • TeacherGeek empowers students because the activities meet students where they are. Students interact with the lessons in a way that builds on their unique level of prior knowledge, past experiences, and current abilities. Such hands-on activities inspire students to meet and exceed high standards for learning and participation, while engaging multiple senses and abilities.
  • Students who are economically or academically disadvantaged can gain significantly from activity-based programs, thereby closing achievement gaps (Bredderman, 1983; Jackson & Ash, 2012; Minner et al., 2010)

 

Enhances Spatial Ability

Students can develop spatial ability

  • Over 50 years of research indicates that spatial ability plays an important role in STEM (Wai et al., 2009).
  • Spatial ability can be developed through training which can lead to higher grade point averages in courses such as chemistry, physics and mathematics (Fredricks et al., 2011; Small & Morton, 1983).
  • Spatial ability is neglected in school curricula and not addressed in traditional standardized assessments, resulting in an under-indentified, under-served population who has the potential to bolster the current scientific and technical workforce (Benbow, 2012; Wai et al., 2009).
  • Students who go on to obtain advanced degrees in STEM appear to have higher developed spatial ability than verbal ability (Robertson et al., 2010).

 

Cultivates Creativity & Innovation

Students become creative and innovative

  • TeacherGeek activities take students through a process which grows their understanding and abilities to the levels at which they can apply, analyze, evaluate, and innovate new solutions.
  • TeacherGeek infuses creativity into math and science domains, thereby fostering student interest and debunking the perception that math and science are not creative (Charyton,  Jagacinski, & Merrill, 2008; Kaufman & Baer, 2004).
  • Considerable evidence suggests that employee creativity can make a substantial contribution to an organization’s growth and competitiveness (Baer & Oldham, 2006).
  • Employee creativity and corporate innovation are critical if companies are to reach their goals and become profitable (Scott, 1995).

 

Designed for Optimal Learning: Grading the Systems

  • Simple Construction:  Students focus on design and engineering without feeling limited by the construction system.
  • Robust Mechanisms: Sturdy, fully functioning mechanisms can be created that reproduce actual, real-world applications.
  • Take Home Affordability: Students can take their projects home for further experimentation and to share with their family.
  • Integrates with Other Materials: Students can incorporate other materials and components ,which promotes innovation.
  • Design & Engineering Process Compatible: Students can redesign and evolve projects through engineering processes.
  • Scientific Method Compatible: Projects provide reliable, precise, and usable outcomes that facilitate testing and analysis.
  • Gender Equitable: The system appeals equally to all gender identities
  • No Machinery Required: The system can be used in a standard classroom without machinery.
  • Challenge Ready: The system is conducive for classroom competitions.

 

Next Generation Science Standards*  Standards Met Through TeacherGeek

PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions: How can one explain and predict interactions between objects and within systems of objects?

A: Forces and Motion
B: Types of Interactions
C: Stability and Instability in Physical Systems

PS3: Energy: How is energy transferred and conserved?

A: Definitions of Energy
B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer
C: Relationship Between Energy and Forces
D: Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life

PS4: Waves and their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer: How are waves used to transfer energy and information?

B: Electromagnetic Radiation
C: Information Technologies and Instrumentation

NGSS* Engineering Standards Met Through TeacherGeek

Engineering Practices

S1: Ask Questions & Define Problems
S2: Develop and Use Models
S3: Plan & Carry Out investigations
S4: Analyze & Interpret Data
S5: Use Mathematics & Computational Thinking
S6: Constructing Explanation and Designing Solutions
S7: Obtaining & Communicating Information

Engineering Connections

Interdependence of science, engineering, and technology
Influence of Science Engineering and Technology on Society and the Natural World

Engineering DCI’s

ETS1A: Defining and Delimiting an Engineering Problem
ETS1B: Developing Possible Solutions
ETS1C: Optimizing the Design Solution
ETS2A: Independence of Science, Engineering, and Technology
ETS2B: Influence of Engineering, Technology and Science on Society

 

Common Core Practices Met Through TeacherGeek

Math

MP1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
MP2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively
MP3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
MP4. Model with mathematics
MP5. Use appropriate tools strategically
MP6. Attend to precision
MP7. Look for and make use of structure

 

ELA

EP1. Demonstrate independence
EP2. Build strong content knowledge
EP3. Respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline
EP4. Comprehend as well as critique
EP5. Value evidence
EP6. Use technology and digital media strategically and capably
EP7. Understand other perspectives and cultures

 

Click here for references.
*“NGSS is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.