Ditching Textbooks to Offer Comprehensive Learning with MyStemKits
Ninamarie Sapuppo, Mathematics Teacher - Middle & High School, CA
In today’s education landscape, more and more schools are adopting emerging technologies to help prepare their students for success in their future careers. School districts, administrators, and individual teachers alike are looking to bring cutting edge solutions into the classroom in order to foster a more handson, collaborative learning environment for their student body, and it’s these hands-on learning experiences that will give the students of today an edge that will prepare them for the rapidly multiplying STEM-based careers of the future.
A Change Is in the Air
Ninamarie Sapuppo, a middle and high school math teacher, is determined to provide her students with an effective learning experience that will help them to truly understand the concepts being explored. She knows that when her students are able to fully grasp a new concept, they feel empowered and excited about math, and are better prepared to excel in higher-level courses. Ms. Sapuppo tells us that one of the main challenges of teaching mathematics is that each subject is often siloed and that the students struggle to see the connections between different math concepts and between math and the other subjects, such as science, engineering, and technology.
MyStemKits, however, focuses on interdisciplinary learning so students can see where the subject they’re learning fits in the world and how it’s all connected. This was one of the many reasons Ms. Sapuppo decided that MyStemKits was the right solution for her classroom. MyStemKits features the world’s largest library of 3D printable K-12 STEM curriculum, all of which aligns with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core standards. Developed and extensively tested by leading STEM researchers at Florida State University, MyStemKits offers over 240 lesson plans that each include a teacher guide, student assessments, a 10+ page lesson plan, student activities/handouts, and 3D printable learning aids. Ms. Sapuppo did initially have a few reservations about how best to incorporate MyStemKits and a 3D printer into her classroom, but her excitement about the potential benefits to her students inspired her to press on with the experiment.
“Using the MyStemKits website was very easy. I would search for the keyword and I would see all the kits that would come along with it. Then, I would click on it and it would show a picture of what it was going to print and described it in words. I thought it was going to be much more complicated. It was really pretty simple”
Ninamarie Sapuppo - Math Teacher
Improving Student Rention with MyStemKits
During the course of her 22 years as a teacher, Ms. Sapuppo came to realize that her students often didn’t connect well with textbook-based curriculum. She found that reading alone was not an effective way for her students to really absorb the material, and when it came time for testing, she noticed that their retention was simply not there. After getting started with MyStemKits, Ms. Sapuppo implemented five different kits into her regular curriculum.
She starts the lessons off by explaining the topic of the lesson so that students have a basic idea of what to expect, then, after the 3D manipulatives are printed, Ms. Sapuppo executes on the activities included with the kit. She mentions that she is consistently impressed at how the questions included with each lesson seem to really draw out the students’ understanding of the material. The questions encourage her students to think critically about each completed activity, and help them make relevant connections to previouslydiscussed math topics.
One of the major benefits of using MyStemKits was that it saved Ms.
Saves Time & Motivates Students
Sapuppo a lot of time developing curriculum herself, and has helped her make the most out of each class period. She enjoys teaching the lesson plans because she’s seeing greater engagement from her students, and she can rest assured knowing that each MyStemKits lesson has been fully researched and tested by experts.
Now, when Ms. Sapuppo’s students hear that there is something being 3D printed, they get excited about learning. As an educator, she feels as though she has made a genuine impact with her students and their understanding of mathematics.
MyStemKits and the 3D printer give her students extra motivation to learn, and the fun of it all helps them to retain the information from the lessons