Spring 2013 Newsletter
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Letter from Executive Director
In the last few months, several hundred elementary and middle school students in the Seattle area have been getting hands-on with robots. Using STEM-based curriculum and LEGO® NXT Robotics kits provided by Technically Learning, these students have been learning about computer programming, engineering, physics, and more in their science classes.
We recently observed a class of 7th grade students on a day when they were finalizing their Robotics unit and programming their robots to complete a physical challenge course that involved turns, cones, and an inclined ramp. When one student was asked what he liked about learning with LEGO Robotics, he answered, “It’s easy. It’s fun, and anyone can do it.” When students feel that learning STEM concepts is easy, it builds their confidence, and they want to learn even more.
Thanks to the support of donors, grantors, corporate partners, and volunteers, we are reaching more students than ever with fun, hands-on STEM activities that improve students’ interest and attitudes about learning STEM. Teachers report that their students are engaged in learning, with some even staying after school to work on their robots.
I hope that you will consider making a new donation to Technically Learning so we can continue to reach more students with engaging STEM programming in the coming months. For greater effect, consider donating on May 15th through the Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG event (see article at below for details). I’ll be doing it and hope you will too!
Make an Impact
Donate to Technically Learning for GiveBIG on May 15, 2013
Technically Learning will be participating in GiveBIG, a one-day, online charitable giving event sponsored by The Seattle Foundation. Every donation made to Technically Learning on May 15, 2013 through the GiveBIG website will also receive a prorated portion from a matching funds pool and will enter us in a drawing to win one of seven $1,000 cash prizes. Visit www.seattlefoundation.org for more information on making a GiveBIG donation to Technically Learning!
Bonus: You could win one of several $100 Starbucks gift cards for donating!
Partner Profile: Pacific Middle School
Highline School District
It’s evident when observing a classroom of students participating in robotics activities that students are engaged and interested. Students are smiling and working together towards a common goal. Because of their interest in the materials, students are willing to solve difficult problems. When a group of 7th grade science students at Pacific Middle School remarked that their robot didn’t perform as expected on a test run, their teacher replied “Why do you think it acted that way?” Their teacher, Kathy Onorati, was prompting students to use their analytical thinking skills to solve engineering and programming problems instead of telling them the answers.
In addition to learning engineering and computer science, students at Pacific are learning invaluable creative problem solving skills and gaining experience working in teams. The teachers at Pacific Middle School have worked hard to foster a collaborative learning environment for their students to act like scientists in the field.
The same collaborative spirit is seen between the teachers at Pacific Middle School. Kathy Onorati, Sarah Ruppert, Kristi Greenaway, Michael Garasi, Leanna Doig-Gray, and Tracy Jacobson have spent many hours working together and with the staff of Technically Learning to make sure their students have the opportunity to work with exciting, hands-on technology. The science teachers at Pacific Middle School have also had incredible support from teacher’s aides and their Assistant Principal, Heidi Geise, to their Principal, Cecilia Beaman. The Highline School District is also very supportive in their efforts at engaging students in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Everyone is invested in making sure to get the best for each of their students.
The science teachers have worked hard to seamlessly integrate robotics into their existing curriculum. Each of the almost 700 students at Pacific Middle school has a month-long unit of Robotics integrated into their science classes. This is Pacific’s second year of using Technically Learning’s curriculum and LEGO® NXT Robotics kits in the classroom. They are one of our nine partnering schools in the Highline School District with plans for expansion into more district schools in the 2013-14 academic year.
Meet Technically Learning at Science EXPO Day!
June 8, 2013 at Seattle Center from 10am-6pm
The Seattle Science Festival is the largest celebration of science in the Pacific Northwest and runs June 6-16. The best part: Science EXPO Day is June 8th and will feature free, family-friendly fun on the grounds of Seattle Center. There will be lots of hands-on experiments, exhibits, demonstrations, and more!
Technically Learning will be an exhibitor at Science EXPO Day, showing off our fun, hands-on Robotics activities that delight kids of all ages. Stop by our booth, meet our team, and see why so many Seattle-area teachers and students are getting excited about learning STEM and Robotics!
Thanks to you...
We want to extend a sincere “THANK YOU!” to all the organizations and people who have helped Technically Learning inspire and engage students in STEM in 2013.
Our committed donors and grantors: your investment is helping Technically Learning reach students at 14 Seattle-area schools
Our dedicated partner districts: Highline School District and Federal Way Public Schools
The incredible teachers and staff at each of our partner schools:
- Martin Luther King Elementary
- Des Moines Elementary
- North Hill Elementary
- Madrona Elementary
- Bow Lake Elementary
- Cedarhurst Elementary
- Gregory Heights Elementary
- Montessori Children’s House
- Pacific Middle School
- Cascade Middle School
- Chinook Middle School
- Lakota Middle School
- Denny Middle School
- Hamilton International Middle School
Our community partners: Community Schools Collaboration and IGNITE
Our motivated volunteers:
- Harish Kulkarni for his work to review and expand our curriculum
- Aparna Varadharajan for helping us develop a branding guide and graphic design templates
- Scott Taylor and Tammi Guthrie (Kirkland and Ellis LLP, New York), and Jessica Cohen for legal advice and documentation development
- Joey McFarland and Katherine Sather for social media assistance and website advice
- Anne Freeman for leading a group of girls at our recent Robotics-themed event with IGNITE
- Makenna Page for assisting with two Science Night events at Hamilton International Middle School and Pacific Middle School