Innovators - David Lockett

Grades 4-12 | Technology Skills | Robots

David Lockett is a sixth, seventh, and eighth grade STEM teacher at Edward W. Bok Academy in Lake Wales, Florida.

Our STEM lab incorporates the four C’s (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity) and the Engineering Design Process. We offer classes on IT, robotics, and other various topics, like Culinary Design, Digital Design, and Marine STEM. We try to incorporate that into a foundation for students so they can expand their knowledge and learn new things; they can learn sustainable design, problem solving, and research in one cohesive class.

SAM Labs is one of the components that we use. I chose SAM Labs because they promoted how it was interactive for students. The first time we used SAM Labs, there were no problems at all. We have very eager minds here, ready to be engaged, so they picked up the skills very quickly. They were able to focus on the task and problem solve.

We really like the STEAM lesson plans that they have. We have a big push in our labs to promote IoT (the Internet of Things). We want to show students that you can seamlessly connect hardware and software to make coding accessible, interactive, and fun. We use it for computational thinking and core curriculum, integrating scientific thinking, music, and reading.

SAM Labs is something that engages them. It’s something that’s experimental and that we can weave multiple standards into. We can talk about time, music, resistance, friction, properties of matter and space. For NASA’s fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo Space Program, our entire month of October will be aerospace and astronomy-based projects. The Mars rover SAM Labs activity is one we’ll do with students. That way, they can see it out in the world or when they learn more about something they can say, “Oh, there was a reason we did that! It’s coming all together!”

Our students have reacted to SAM Labs with excitement. They’re eager. We use our own devices a lot (we’re an Apple school, so we have Apple products), but a lot of students have their own devices. They’re amazed that their cell phones can code. They’re dragging and dropping code on their phones. They are using their devices as a sensor for different SAM Labs IoT projects.

For any teacher getting started, you want your students to understand the importance of collaborating and communicating. When you start with any STEM-based project, you have to focus on that. Once they understand that, they can apply it to the activity they’re doing. That’s when you open up the learning design process so they can be a little bit more forward-thinking and turn into students who are creating, improving, and planning their project.

This is our second year using SAM Labs. It’s been a fantastic product,and very affordable for our lab. The addition of state standards and NGSS-aligned lesson plans online has been a huge plus. I don’t have to go hunting for lesson plans, and I can automatically align them to our standards.

I was able to attend ISTE in Chicago this past summer. I presented a project on accessibility and STEM. SAM Labs followed up with me and said, “Hey, we have a brand new company, we have new products, and we’re trying to make coding accessible and fun.” I checked it out from there, and we were able to use it more. The students made a little model house and connected the IoT pieces to make a doorbell with a flashing light. We wanted to make one that was more accessible to hearing impaired student. How would a hearing impaired student be able to “hear” a doorbell? I thought, “Wow, this is an easy way to make it accessible and work on it with the students.” My presentation went really well. We had a lot in attendance.

Our STEM lab is very active on social media. We post a lot of what our students do. We’re always trying to be as forward thinking as we can. We think of our students as innovators. Why not be as innovative as you can, and look for those new products and ideas that will connect students with the real world?

For more updates on Bok Academy’s STEM Lab, check out @BokSTEM.

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