Technically Learning Programs
TL curriculum teaches STEM by integrating technical activities such as Robotics, 3D movie animation and basic computer programming with core math, science, reading and writing concepts; all lessons are aligned to state science standards. We provide this curriculum to participating educators along with up to eight hours of professional development to allow them to become proficient in using the curriculum and equipment, and then provide ongoing support while they begin to implement it in the classroom.
Our model allows educators to become more confident and innovative in teaching STEM concepts using their own educational expertise and the teaching style that best suits their students' needs. Training educators to incorporate TL activities into their classrooms has the added benefit of sustainability; we train them once, and they use that knowledge and improved practice to inspire students for many years.
We primarily focus on building and programming LEGO robots because it provides many opportunities to learn problem-solving and engineering skills. Integrating robotics projects with specific science and math units motivates the students to learn these concepts. Our robotics activities stress the scientific method by testing hypothesis through experimentation, iterating designs, collaborating in groups, and documenting results.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In 2012, TL worked with a total of 27 teachers to engage 56 classrooms across 12 schools in the Highline and Seattle districts, two after-school programs, and one hands-on workshop. Over 1,600 students learned about and were inspired by LEGO Robotics activities.
TL is actively working to increase the reach of our programs into additional public schools and community organizations in South King County. Fewer than 60% of South King County students are meeting state standards for proficiency in Math (4th and 7th grades) and Science (5th and 8th grades) and just over 72% of students graduate high school on-time. In the districts that serve South King County, 54% of K-12 students are low-income and 60% are students of color. It costs us approximately $2,500 to launch a new site.