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Amplify and Enrich Workshop

Dr. Brigitte Garth-Young

On April 25, 2015, our teachers turned up learning by participating in “Amplify and Enrich”, a STEM related professional development opportunity!  This training was facilitated by Dr. Brigitte Garth-Young, Numeracy Coordinator.  The workshop began with an introduction of using manipulatives with classroom instruction via the “M & M Project”.  This activity moved from the simple to the complex.  Teachers used M & M candies as a manipulative to sort and graph the frequency of colors in their sample packets of candies.  Teachers also used the appropriate tools (rulers, calculators, compasses, protractors,  and graphing paper) to properly construct a pie chart, calculate percentages and central angles, and putting the central angles into the pie chart using a half circle protractor.  Arts-In-Education was also integrated via the use of a mass media art kit to illustrate the understanding of the concepts presented in the activity. 

The teachers explored simple machines through LEGO Education.  The materials used in the training were designed for use by teachers of students in Grades Pre-K through 8th grade. Working individually, in pairs, or in small groups, children of any academic background from Prekindergarten and up can build prototypes, investigate and learn from the models.  The LEGO Early Education Simple Machine Kits, and the LEGO Elementary/Middle Simple & Powered Machines  activity pack enables children to work as young scientists, engineers, and designers providing them with settings, tools and tasks that promote design technology, science and mathematics.   Using the activity pack with classroom instruction will encourage children to involve themselves in real world investigations and problem-solving. They will make assumptions and predictions. They will design and make prototypes and then observe the behavior of these models; they will reflect and re-design, and then record and present their findings.   LEGO Education enables teachers to cover the following overall curriculum skills:

• Think creatively to try to explain how things work

• Establish links between cause and effect

• Design and make artifacts that fulfill specific criteria

• Try ideas using results from observations and measurements

• Ask questions that can be investigated scientifically and mathematically

• Reflect on how to find answers and imagine new possibilities

• Think what might happen, then try new ideas

• Make fair tests by changing single factors and observing or measuring the effects

• Make systematic observations and measurements

• Display and communicate data using diagrams, drawings, tables, bar charts and line graphs

• Decide whether conclusions agree with any predictions made, and whether the conclusions enable

    further predictions

• Review work and describe its significance and limitations              

Lastly, the teachers engaged in a virtual manipulative experience by way of Kahoot! Kahoot allows learners to both respond and create with any device that has a web browser, creating a variety of trusted learning spaces.  Gaming mechanics provide additional engagement, motivation and rewards through learners' participation, with a game-based pedagogy which is proven by academic research.  The blended learning approach  and social media experience is created through asking/answering questions in a physical setting, which allows Kahoot to serve as a platform for sharing, browsing, or playing content created by educators and learners globally.  Formative assessment and adaptive teaching happens through the data providing teachers with a ‘snapshot’ of each learner's current understanding and longer term tracking of progress.

"Manipulative materials help students make sense of abstract ideas, provide students ways to test and verify ideas, are useful tools for solving problems, and make mathematics learning more engaging and interesting by lifting mathematics off textbook and workbook pages." (Burns, 2007)

We Believe...

Dr. Brigitte Garth Young

Numeracy Coordinator

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