Parents, PTAs, Teachers and Principals came to the STAR Resource Station from all around Los Angeles to find out more about everything STAR Education has to offer! Here are some of our favorite pictures from the day…
There was plenty of fun to go around at STAR Education’s 2nd S.T.E.A.M.Topia! Over 150 young innovators showed up for a day of hands-on learning, experimenting, and exploration! Focused on the S.T.E.A.M. disciplines of Science, Technlogy, Engineering, Art, and Math, S.T.E.A.M.Topia is designed to show how S.T.E.A.M. disciplines work together to illuminate principles behind fascinating phenomena in the human experience, and how these subjects are easily applicable in the real world.
Elementary and middle school children were able to test their engineering abilities by designing the car of the future, discover the math behind wilderness survival skills, explore the technology behind artificial intelligence through Turing tests, build a survival dome to withstand the elements, craft high-flying rockets, design 3D forced perspective art, study electric circuitry, and learn the behind-the-scenes of toy making!
Students from the STAR LEGO© Robotics program also competed in the Battle of the Brains! Battle of the Brains is an opportunity for students to battle their Mindstorm sumo-bots that they have spent 12 weeks designing, building, and programming using mechanical engineering, computer programming, special reasoning, teamwork, aesthetic and functional design and other S.T.E.A.M. based skills.
The action didn’t stop there – students also had the opportunity to ride a real hovercraft, experience the science of break-dancing and hula hooping, build at the LEGO© booth, put on a sumo suit to explore the physics behind sumo-wrestling, engage in interactive technology exhibits, and so much more!
The STAR S.T.E.A.M. Initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) has introduced thousands of students to cutting edge and innovative programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. S.T.E.A.M. utilizes specialized, multidisciplinary curricula propelled by problem solving, discovery, and exploratory learning, which encourage students to actively engage in a situation in order to find its solution. STAR S.T.E.A.M. programs aim to engage students to solve real world challenges and ignite their interest in college and future careers. S.T.E.A.M.topia is part of STAR Education’s initiative to support the growing trend in education to stress practical, hands-on, and innovative curricula. STAR is an active member of the S.T.E.M. Education Coalition and is at the forefront of promoting S.T.E.A.M. programs in California.
STAR Education has partnered with the Braitmeyer Foundation and a team of Neuroscience experts to bring you this comprehensive Professional Development Program developed and designed especially for elementary teachers.
This program will take place on three separate Saturdays at STAR Education’s Resource Station in Culver City. This cutting edge series will be presented through a dynamic hands-on, discussion based format which focuses on bringing you the latest research in Neuroscience and Psychology along with strategies for direct application in the classroom.
CEU Credits are available, for each Saturday of attendance, through USC’s Rossier School of Education. (See Below).
December 8th, January 26th, February 23rd
8:00 a.m. Check-In and Continental Breakfast
310-842-8040 ext. 113
Exciting Grant for New Neuroscience based Professional Development Series for Teachers at STAR Education
STAR Education is excited to announce that they are a recipient of a $35,000 grant from The Braitmeyer Foundation to develop and implement a Neuroscience-based professional development series. The series will be aimed at teaching educators how to use the most up-to-date research in the areas of neuroscience, psychology and sociology in their classrooms. The educators will be given basic scientific theory along with practical suggestions on how to enhance material retention and most effectively set up their learning environments.
The series will be an eight session program covering the following topics:
1) Plasticity and Mindset
3) Attention, Focus and Persistence
4) Stress and Emotional Regulation
5) Happiness; Social and Emotional Learning
6) Memory and Study Skills
7) Brain care (Sleep, exercise and nutrition)
8) Teaching Neuroscience to children
Our resident neuroscience expert, Anne-Marie Cziko, Ph.D. , will be developing and implementing the course. (You can read Anne-Marie’s bio and the rest of our STAR GATE staff bios here.) We will also be featuring articles covering her research summaries on the series’ topics here on the STAR News blog. Her goal with these summaries is to help both educators and parents guide their children to reach their maximum potential.
Included in the Braitmeyer Foundation grant is a fund matching program allowing us to run the to provide a 50% discount to the first ten schools that sign up for the series during the pilot year. Please inquire with the STAR GATE department if your school or district is interested in participating.
Recently, STAR and STAR GATE staff attended the Learning and the Brain Conference in San Francisco, which brings together the leading experts in education, the sciences, as well as educators from around the country. This year’s theme was “Educating the Whole Child/Student: Using Brain Science for Smarter, Happier and Healthier Learners”. Our staff was proud to return to STAR armed with the newest research findings and excited to share what they had learned with the whole of the STAR community.
A reoccurring theme at the conference was how important self-regulation is for continued academic success, so much so that it is a more reliable predictor than IQ alone. The ability to effectively self-regulate is also a predictor of better interpersonal relationships, long-term financial success, higher life satisfaction and a longer life.
In the simplest of terms, self-regulation is not hitting your co-worker after they say something inappropriate, saying no to that piece of chocolate cake while you are trying to lose a few pounds or tuning out the TV while trying to work. Though seemingly basic, it is essential for achievement of important long-term and lifelong goals such as saving for a down payment, getting good grades to get into college, or working long hours to start a successful business. A cute and fun example from the study of self regulation in kids is the marshmallow test.
In the marshmallow test the children are given one marshmallow and put in a room for two minutes alone. They are told to that if they can resist eating the first marshmallow for two minutes then they can have two marshmallows upon the experimenters return. The children are videotaped and hilarity ensues as they use various strategies to keep themselves from eating the marshmallow. Watch the experiment in action:
Although this seems like an experiment designed to entertain the scientists it has true scientific validity. Children who perform well and can wait for the bigger pay-off of two marshmallows appear to have an ability to self-regulate that serves them well in a variety of areas. The bottom line is that self-regulation comes from the ability to effectively ignore a stimulus that conflicts with a more important goal. In the marshmallow test the conflicting stimulus is the yummy marshmallow sitting in front of them and the more important goal is the reward of the second marshmallow at the end of two minutes.
The speed of performance on a very simple psychological task can tell us a lot about an individual’s ability to self-regulate. For example, another psychological test that can demonstrate an individual’s ability to self-regulate is called the Stroop test. This simple test requires an individual to say out loud the color of a word ignoring the conflicting stimulus of the word that is written in that particular color. Confused? Try it for yourself.
Don’t stress if you found that difficult, because perhaps the most exciting finding from the world of psychology and neuroscience is that self-regulation can be taught. Whereas initially studies were done only on adults, recently researchers have found that children also can improve their ability to self-regulate.
Any task that forces your child or students to ignore some conflicting stimulus will help your child improve in self-regulation. Take the game of “Simon Says”. For children to inhibit the inherent desire to match “Simon’s” movements and verbal directions requires a large amount of self-regulation. Another method is allowing for rich dramatic and creative play that requires suppressing conflicting ideas like fantasy versus reality. Playing games whose rules can be changed, like sorting objects first by one quality (like color) and then again by another (like size), is another good way to teach self-regulation.
For more information on self-regulation explore this informative article from the New York Times or this article from the Journal of Science discussing the various techniques to improve self-regulation in children and their effectiveness You are always welcome to contact our resident Neuroscience expert, Anne-Marie Cziko, Ph.D. (email@example.com) with any follow-up questions you have.
What happens when brilliant young minds from all over Los Angeles gather to compete in a Battle of the Brains? STAR Education’s First Annual S.T.E.M.topia! This past weekend, at the STAR Education headquarters in Culver City, mini Einsteins, pocket-sized DaVincis, and young Marie Curies assembled to celebrate their united passions in an event focused on S.T.E.M. – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Hosting a S.T.E.M. event has been a dream of STAR’s for years, and 2012 was the year to finally make it a reality. Students enrolled in STAR S.T.E.M. programs were able to test the LEGO© Mindstorm Rovers they’ve spent 12 weeks working on with their teammates. In a space-themed room, with an attentive audience watching in anticipation, the elementary school teams put their preprogrammed robots to the test in a series of complex missions including independent path finding, terrain analysis, and directional sensing.
And that’s not all! Specialty workshops, called S.T.E.M-Shops, were open to the public and available for STAR S.T.E.M. students during the breaks in their competitions. Kids ranging in ages from 5-12 signed up for hands-on S.T.E.M.-Shops such as Roller Coaster Dynamics, iPad Game Design, 3D building using Zome construction tools, LEGO© Robotics – and they even got the opportunity to ride a real hovercraft!
Stay tuned for information on future S.T.E.M. events!
STAR S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programs aim to engage students to solve real world challenges and ignite their interest in college and future careers. S.T.E.M.topia is part of STAR Education’s initiative to support the growing trend in education to stress practical, hands-on, and innovative curricula. STAR is an active member of the S.T.E.M. Education Coalition and is at the forefront of promoting S.T.E.M. programs in California.
We were honored this year to have one of our STAR Prep Academy teachers, math teacher Paul Rotaru, invited to attend an innovative math educational summit, the Computer Based Math Education Summit, in London this November. The summit brought together leaders from around the world with diverse backgrounds from government to technology to education to discuss the issue of how to better integrate the ubiquitous existence of computers in our culture into a more effective and relevant method of teaching math. We here at STAR are dedicated to being at the forefront of educational innovation and thanks to the support of the STAR community, administration and parents, Paul was able to attend. He reported back to us about the summit:
Dear STAR Community,
Recently I was invited to attend the first summit of Computer Based Math (“CBM”) at the Royal Institute in London. Thanks to the generosity of the administration and parents from STAR, who believed in me and my views about math education, I was able to fly to London and attend the summit.
The summit took place on November 10-11, 2011. Not only was the date interesting: 11.11.11, but the summit was indeed the first step in challenging the current status quo of mathematical education.
For two days I have listened to numerous panel discussions and had private discussions with some of the most brilliant minds in the domain. All the participants agreed on quite a few points:
* The use of computers and computer software
* Skills and knowledge in the age of search and A.I.
* Critical thinking and problem solving abilities are more important than computational skills
* Math is not linear. As harder computational topics are not necessarily hard conceptually, they could be introduced to students a lot earlier.
* Different math paths for different learners
* The need to change standardized tests
Conrad Wolfram and many others see a growing chasm between math education and math outside the classroom. A rift between the increasingly irrelevant school math curriculum contrasted with the critical and growing importance of math and its uses outside the classroom. They’ve observed how many of those involved in school math fail to appreciate the total transformation and fundamental change that computers have brought to this ancient subject in recent decades.
Please watch Conrad as he is explaining his views at TED: Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers
In conclusion, I would like to say that CBM might become an entirely new core subject, one that would bridge Computational Thinking across the curriculum. It is necessary for us to look into CBM and work towards its development and implementation as soon as possible. The first world nations that adopt CBM will be the front runners in the world of innovation and will become the world leaders. As Conrad puts it: “Finally, I’m not even sure if the subject that one’s talking about here is called math. Is the naming wrong? But whatever it’s called, let’s be quite clear: it’s the mainstream subject of the future.“
STAR Prep Academy – “A New Breed of Education” – www.starprepacademy.com