Meet Rosanne Mistretta, Lower School Science Teacher and Director of AFS Outside at Abington Friends School in Jenkintown, PA. She submitted her story for National Engineers Week and we’re excited to share the great inventions and projects her elementary students are creating!
Tell us about your current teaching experience.
I teach science to Kindergarten through 4th grade. I also direct our K-12 outdoor and environmental education program called AFS Outside, which is designed to powerfully connect children in sustained and meaningful ways with the living world while fully realizing the enormous potential of our beautiful campus.
Learn more about Rosanne’s teaching philosophy and experience on her website.
How did you discover littleBits? What drew you to our product/company?
I was searching to add more STEAM projects to our curriculum and was inspired by littleBits. I applied for a grant to our Technology Department and was awarded a grant to purchase littleBits.
Which product did you use and what made you decide to choose this?
I wanted items that would be easy to incorporate into fairly open-ended projects for 3rd and 4th grade. We’re doing a 3rd grade Invention Convention with a few other schools and I thought it would be great to have the students animate their projects. We’re using a variety of the modules; many types of sensors and switches, motors, lights, buzzers.
How are you using littleBits in your programs or space?
We’re using them for the 3rd and 4th grade projects this year. I am also running a teacher workshop on our next inservice day on littleBits and STEAM projects.
Here’s an excerpt from Rosanne’s classroom blog about the start of their 3rd grade Invention Symposium:
There’s an exciting new program in 3rd grade science. Last year, the science teachers from the schools that participate in the 4th grade Mold Symposium got together and decided to add another symposium, this time for 3rd grade students. We decided that something like an invention theme would challenge the students and focus on creativity and engineering. The 3rd grade Invention Symposium was born! Teams of students will create inventions and present them in a science symposium that will be held in May 2015.
Rosanne’s student’s also recently created their own versions of Calder’s Circus. Check out the lesson here to recreate these art projects in your own classroom.
If you could challenge your students to make anything with any amount of littleBits, what would you have them create?
I would challenge them to create ways to make our school more environmentally sustainable. I would work with our tech department to 3-D print their ideas to bring them to life and also incorporate littleBits.
What advice can you offer teachers who are new to littleBits?
Take time to play with them yourself! Also, show the video of Ayah Bdeir’s TED talk on littleBits; it’s very inspiring. Have the students sketch their circuits and explain them to each other. It really helps them to understand what’s happening.
Thanks Rosanne! We look forward to hearing the updates from your teacher’s workshop.