Center for Innovation - Funded Projects 2017-18

  • Applications of Mathematics to STEM Careers
    Monica Palekar; Joseph Nista; SHS Math Department

    We would like to invite professionals working in STEM careers to speak to students and share their experience. Speakers will be selected from among local community members, professors and other experts in the field. Students will have an opportunity to network with successful professionals in various fields of study. In addition, speakers will be asked to meet with faculty to discuss their observations about what topics, in a high school curriculum, are essential to cover in order to better prepare students for working in a rapidly evolving environment. Our goal is to educate our students about the many possibilities open to them from a continued study in mathematics.

    Choice Builds a Miniature Golf Course
    Cindy Parrott, Kristin Martin, Rob Daly, Steve Rambone, Andy Verboys

    The Choice team would like to work with the 7th and 8th grade technology teachers to create a project where students will create a nine-hole miniature golf course. Each student group will be tasked with creating a single hole using a 4' X 8' sheet of plywood and basic materials. They will be given unique parameters related to geometry, science topics and periods of time in history. Additionally, each group will receive a "mystery parameter" such as a water feature or obstacle. Beyond that, students may be as creative as their imaginations (and budget) will allow. The technology teachers will provide their expertise, tools, and class time to allow this project to reach its full potential. Students will be expected to work together throughout this hands-on learning experience to plan, design and build their hole. All projects will be joined together in the lower courtyard to create a nine hole miniature golf course that parents can experience at the Choice end-of-year picnic.

    Engineer in Residence
    Monica Palekar, Lisa Yokana, Brian McDonald

    We would like to have Scarsdale graduate Giancarlo Paternoster, a professional engineer, work alongside us in enhancing the experience of students in the Math Applications, Introduction to Design and Fabrication, Robotics, and Design/Build courses. For example, in the Math Applications course, he will introduce students to the many fields of study where 3D printing is revolutionizing the landscape. Then he will instruct students about the basic tools in Fusion 360 and through a series of projects help them build a foundation so that they may 3D build on their own. In Design/Build, students will be designing and building chairs and Giancarlo’s knowledge and experience in this area is vast. The courses mentioned above are comprised of hands-on experiences which require constant feedback and multiple iterations before completing a final product. We will be planning his schedule each week, doing lesson plans and debriefing. Last year, he even met students outside of class for individualized help with their projects. Giancarlo has a Mechanical Engineering degree from Lehigh and has extensive experience in creating, and will serve as a role model for our students. We think that having him in classes will help our students understand the value of hands-on work and learning by doing. His recent experience in Engineering school as well as his being an SHS graduate, will assist us in teaching second level electives for the STEAM sequence in order to best prepare our students. In addition, as he will be assisting across disciplines, he will also help us to make more interdisciplinary connections and provide students with the natural practitioner skills that he has mastered in college. Here is a link to his portfolio:

    Entrepreneurship at Scarsdale High School
    Lisa Yokana, Brian McDonald

    Our goal is to create and prototype a year long Entrepreneurship course for high school students focusing on entrepreneurial mindsets. Since this is the prototyping year, we would like to look at existing high school and college programs, as well as use two consultants to craft a program tailored to SHS students. Eugene Korsunskiy has taught the “Designing Your Life” course at Stanford and continues to teach this curriculum at the college level, including UVM and, now, Dartmouth. Don Buckley has helped private schools create their entrepreneurship classes and will bring his knowledge of what works to our endeavor.

    Tinker Tubs: Self Contained STEAM Projects for K-5 Students
    Christine Boyer, Vivian Robert

    Our goal is to create Tinker Tubs that allow students to design, explore and tinker with STEAM based projects that address real world problems. We will create Tinker Tubs with a low floor, wide walls and high ceilings so that they are accessible to students on all grade levels. Our thinking is to have a several concepts represented in a variety of tubs. These tubs will be based on different scientific principles (propulsion, energy, engineering,bridge building, patterns, marble runs, simple machines). Each Tinker Tub will house a project with directions, resources, and open ended questions to inspire students and teachers while at the same time weaving the maker movement into existing curriculum, as the tubs can be borrowed from the makerspace and utilized in class to enrich, engage and expand the learning experiences. The NGSS includes an engineering vertical strand that incorporates the following; developing models to represent an actual object or process, building collaboratively, problem solving, working collaboratively, and planning and carrying out investigations and designing solutions. We believe that Tinker Tubs will address the NGSS standards, help grow a maker mindset and increase the sophistication of our students’ thinking through authentic problem solving.

    Global Inventors: Changing the World One Flashlight at a Time A Scarsdale Middle School and Level Up Village Partnership
    Michael Pincus, Meghan Lahey, Ken Raff

    In our ever changing, interdependent world, Middle School students must develop the skills to collaborate, empathize, and solve real world problems. Fostering an understanding of these global issues and making connections across borders helps our students see themselves as agents of change and builds cross-cultural understanding. In this STEAM focused project, students will engage in project based learning and design thinking while working with students in a different country through a partnership with Level Up Village. Level Up Village (LUV) “delivers pioneering Global STEAM enrichment courses that promote design thinking and one-to-one collaboration between students from around the world.” LUV runs courses such as the global inventors program at more than 250 public and private schools and has more than 40 partner schools in 20 countries. During our SMS/LUV global inventors project, the students will collaborate on a renewable energy design challenge with students from schools in different countries such as the Kikora Project in Kenya or the Gayaza High School in Uganda. They will discuss access to electricity and solar power capabilities in each other's community through a secure, online platform. After gaining a better understanding of both energy and each other’s cultures, the students will brainstorm, prototype, and test their own designs for a solar-powered flashlight using Tinkercad and a 3-D printer. Although thousands of miles apart, these global inventors will see first hand the how collaboration, communication, and problem solving can lead to real change. As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world.” In this case, it may be through one solar-powered flashlight at time.

    Designing the Edgewood Library Learning Commons
    Matthew Fitzpatrick, Lisa Forte, Paul Tomizawa, Alison Turner

    The Edgewood Library is currently undergoing a structural makeover, but when it emerges from drop cloths and protective sheetrock, it will be remade as our Library Learning Commons. This Center for Innovation Implementation grant proposal extends the continuum from last year’s Development grant-funded project that began with an essential question-- What Could We Do with Room 18? In this endeavor, a team of students and staff engaged in a Design Thinking challenge that also spurred a healthy partnership with Lisa Yokana and her high school architecture students to reconfigure the traditional classroom into a flexible learning space that supports the needs of today’s learners. The Room 18 question energized staff members to identify solutions not just for Room 18, but their own classrooms. We now wish for our teaching staff and students to channel their energy into reimagining not only their own learning spaces, but also the most valuable shared space in the building. The Edgewood Library Learning Commons will be the heart of our school community, representing all that we value in an Edgewood education. It will be the incubator of experimental instructional and learning practices and the melting pot of perspectives and collaborative creation. And through the Design Thinking solution-building process, in coordination with staff and students, this project will help us create a common space that promotes learning in a nurturing offline environment, as well as prepare learners for an era characterized by today’s spirit of making, digital technology, and online communication.

    Innovation By Design: Developing the Framework to Create Laboratory Classrooms as Phase 2 of the Scarsdale Teacher and Administrator Collaborative (ST@C) Innovation Network
    John Calvert, Shoshana Cooper, Sue Luft, Carole Phillips, Paul Tomizawa

    The foundational theory of the ST@C is that educational innovation is necessary to provide students with a modern education that prepares them for an ever-changing world. Educational innovation requires research and development as well as professional development--particularly an organization's capacity to develop professional learning communities within our district by facilitating teacher collaboratives and learning networks that will lead to our ultimate goal of student achievement. With the development of the inquiry laboratory classrooms, our hope is to develop an inquiry framework for developing innovative practices and units of study that meet not only our expectations for a Scarsdale Education for the Future 2.0 but also incorporates emerging new learning standards such as the newly adopted ELA, Math, and Science next generation standards. Through active research in the three distinctive areas of expertise--knowledge of content, knowledge of teaching, and knowledge of students, we will be able to develop learning experiences that integrate contemporary tools to meet the needs of the modern learner.