Tuesday, April 14, 2015

STEM in the English Classroom

Lately I've been thinking about the focus on STEM in the school curriculum. Sadly, my own discipline of English is not what the "E" stands for. Does that mean English is not too relevant these days? Certainly not. But you know what they say, make yourself necessary. So I've been working on developing some lessons that incorporate STEM into English. It's been a really fun challenge. 

The first one, which I love, is an assignment asking students to design a new app, as a character from a novel. It is a huge challenge, since just coming up with a creative app that they haven't already seen is going to be tricky, much less doing it from within the mindset of a character. I had a great time researching some of the creative new apps coming out these days to give them inspiration, and designing questions to help them pursue the dual challenge of app design and character analysis.

Here's the opening paragraph of the assignment:

You probably know there are a lot of apps out there. You may have used an app like Google maps to get around, an app like Facebook to stay in touch with your friends, or one of the many app games to entertain yourself. But did you know there are well over a million apps out there and designers are constantly creating new ones? Did you know you can create restaurant reviews with Tastemade? Use Brushes to create art on your own digital canvas? Download Walk the Dog to track the miles you walk and see money donated to a local animal shelter for each one? Use Quizlet to develop flashcards for studying and to study others’ flashcard sets? Try Zenith Telescope to view the universe through the lens of your phone?

When I finished crafting this assignment, I kind of wanted to go design an app myself. So I think it's going to inspire my students. 

What are your favorite interdisciplinary activities? Do you think STEM can have a place in the English classroom?

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