Magazine article Technology and Children

Technology Education in Belle Vernon Elementary Schools

Magazine article Technology and Children

Technology Education in Belle Vernon Elementary Schools

Article excerpt

"A difficult task for elementary students is to explain on paper the steps of how a particular machine works or how a process of something is done. The Tech Ed program enables the students to apply skills across the curriculum to bring specific tasks to a reality by following written directions, building, realizing, and answering HOW things work."

Patricia Bertram--Title I Reading Specialist, Rostraver Elementary

In the fall of 2008, the Belle Vernon Area School District added an exciting addition to its science and technology curriculum. The district hired me to teach elementary technology education at the fourth grade level. The idea of bringing a full-time technology education teacher to the elementary level was aimed at improving students' test scores and sparking student interest in technological problem solving and the designed world. The PSSA tests for science and technology were pilot-tested at the fourth grade level in the spring of 2008, and student scores will begin to count in the fall of 2009. The philosophy of technology education at the elementary level is to involve a hands-on approach that provides the students with a more concrete understanding of important science and technology concepts.

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I shared my time between two of the district's elementary schools and spent about 10 days at each building. The 10-day rotation has worked very well and allows the regular classroom teachers time to cover topics in other subjects while I am at the other school building. I came to the district with experience in elementary technology education. I worked for two years on the National Science Foundation grant known as 13 (Invention, Innovation, and, Inquiry). P project materials are comprised of 10 elementary school technology education units intended for use in the self-contained elementary classroom.

Belle Vernon has given me a great opportunity to develop a successful elementary technology education program. I based the program around the technology clusters: communication, construction, manufacturing, energy/transportation, and biotechnology. Classes are focused on learning using hands-on technology units. The program is standards-based, drawing from the Pennsylvania academic standards, the National Science Education Standards, and Standards for Technological Literacy (ITEA, 2000/2002/2007). The students use the engineering design process to solve a wide array of technological problems. Since the beginning of the year the students have designed company logos, screen printed their own T-shirts, wired various electrical circuits, used simple machines to move heavy objects, and investigated the four environments of transportation (land, sea, air, and space). In a recent transportation unit, developed in partnership with SAE International (Society of Automotive Engineers) the class benefited from a materials grant and a free curriculum called "A World in Motion. …

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