Dr. Lori Lambert is a STEM teacher at Pleasant Hill Middle School located in the Lexington 1 school district, South Carolina. Dr. Lambert sits on the South Carolina Science standards board, leads the school’s robotics team and teaches approximately 350 6-8 grade students per year.
Dr. Lambert met NeuroMaker in the summer of 2020. After review of materials, curriculum and programs, Lexington 1 acquired a full classroom set of NeuroMaker hands to equip 30 students with this technology to fill 15 weeks of daily 50 minute STEM instruction aligned with NGSS and CSTA educational standards.
From the beginning of this new partnership, Dr. Lambert strove to include her students to create real world projects using design thinking frameworks. Throughout lessons and mini projects throughout the entire semester, students were always thinking ahead about their own capstone learning project to demonstrate the new knowledge and skills they had acquired.
- Engage more students in projects that encourage greater agency in the learning process
- Connect more disparate subjects in electronics engineering and programming with real social issues.
- Introduce real STEM role models directly to the hands-on work completed by students.
Shortly after acquiring NeuroMaker materials, the Lexington 1 school district announced they would be moving to a hybrid learning model. Students in STEM classes would be organized into an “A” group and a “B” group. “A” group students met in the classroom on Mondays and Wednesday, while “B” group students met in the classroom on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All students would be fully remote on Fridays.
In order to support this effort, Dr. Lambert followed guidelines established by NeuroMaker Recommended Learning Schedules and reviewed NeuroMaker Standards Alignment. By implementing NeuroMaker curriculum, materials and challenge, students could focus on tactile building and prototyping when in the classroom and could conversely focus on content knowledge and research when outside of the classroom. Students could generate their own ideas based on new knowledge they had acquired about Biomedical knowledge and engineering at home using their time available in the classroom to test these ideas in person.
Dr. Lambert then set the following goals for students using NeuroMaker Curriculum and resources. Please note that curriculum samples for these lessons are available on the NeuroMaker Hand description and NeuroMaker Challenge description.
- Students would be organized into groups of 2-4 to investigate all available lessons and challenge materials together for the semester.
- Each group of students would prepare learning goals from day one centered around how this technology could be used to help society with special focus on amputees and other disabled groups.
- Students would be given open access to other classes and resources to take ownership of their learning outside of allotted class time.
A full review of each lesson and topic covered during this semester is included below.
Moving abruptly to a hybrid learning environment did slow down the normal pace of the class in order to ensure students had access to appropriate distance technology. Regardless, Dr. Lambert was able to use remote learning as an opportunity to drive students to take greater control of their own learning. Specific results were as follows:
- All students were able to complete the build of their prosthetics projects and effectively communicate how this technology is used to help the amputee community.
- All students engaged their community through interviews, webinars with real scientists and self driven research.
- Multiple students requested that more material be provided to continue their studies. Dr. Lambert was able to provide any additional lessons in programming, artificial intelligence and more from the NeuroMaker curriculum portal. Another student continued to program in their spare time and created their own rock, paper, scissors program to function on their prosthetic hand (see in the addendum below).
- Two student groups were chosen by the NeuroMaker Challenge judging committee to receive 2nd place and 3rd place. The 2nd place team received $500 and the 3rd place team received $250 as seed capital to further improve upon their solution.
Students remain engaged in authentic learning experiences regardless of remote and hybrid learning interruptions.
- Lexington 1 was able to engage STEM students in remote and hybrid learning environments using the NeuroMaker Hand, open curriculum and NeuroMaker Challenge capstone project.
- Students typically reluctant to engage in self driven STEM projects were engaged in developing their own projects without direct guidance from teachers.
- Students were able to connect knowledge in programming, computer science, and electronics with Biomedical Engineering, Assistive Technology and cooperate with real world engineers.
- Students now have a foundation in programming, the engineering design process and have their work recognized by real world engineers.
“NeuroMaker meets students’ needs from middle school to high school all the way to career in a hands-on way that can get students truly engaged. The curriculum was so easy to use that I would have no problem allowing a substitute teacher to effectively come in and take over.” – Dr. Lori Lambert, Lexington 1 STEM Teacher
“Mrs. Lambert, do you have any more projects I can work on? This is really fun and I just completed everything you have given me so far.” – Lexington 1 student and NeuroMaker Challenge Winner
Rock Paper Scissors Student Creation