My students need math manipulatives such as Magna-Tiles, dominoes, Unifix cubes, and pattern blocks to participate in STEM building activities to build higher order thinking and problem solving skills.
From the outside looking in you would say that my students have the cards stacked against them. These are the kids that the world looked at with the thought that they'll never amount to anything. We are in a low-income district with more than 75% of our students being at risk not to graduate.
My students all have a significant hearing loss, making them view the world through a completely different lens.
They also have intellectual disabilities, making learning and retaining information a great challenge. When I look at my students, however, I don't see the challenges they face. I see joy, perseverance, creativity, and a great deal of immeasurable aptitude. My students have skills and know-how far beyond what the world counts as important, and I know that they can do great things, because I see it every day.
I have heard countless times that “my students can’t do it” and that I shouldn’t expect certain things from them because of their disabilities. This isn’t my style, however. I strongly believe that if you set the expectation and you give students the opportunity then they will rise to the occasion in their own way.
I want to give my students every opportunity that other students have, which is why I am wanting to implement STEM experiences and activities into my classroom in a way that my students can rise to the occasion and improve their higher order thinking, creativity, and problem solving.
The magna-tiles, dominoes, pattern blocks, cubes, and place value blocks will all be utilized in "STEM bins" where students explore their creativity, higher order thinking skills, and problem solving. They will be given the materials and a picture or a building or object and be tasked with finding a way to duplicate what is shown without being told directly how to complete it. This will encourage my students to think for themselves, a task that is foreign to them now, but will build their courage and self esteem once implemented.
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