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Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

STEAM-Powered Social Studies

Explore and create

Explore and create : Creation lab

Saturday, December 5, 7:45–8:35 am PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Dr. Suzy Cox  
Michelle Gibbons  
Dr. Krista Ruggles  

Explore how the richness of social studies can be fused with project-based learning, storytelling and integrative practices — with an emphasis on technology and robotics — to bring new levels of relevance and engagement.

Audience: Teachers, Professional developers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Computer science & computational thinking
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Social studies, Science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this presentation is to engage participants in exploring connections between STEM and Social Studies through the integration of technology and, particularly, robotics. Participants will:
- Describe connections between STEM and Social Studies
- Identify ways in which technology and robotics can be used to enhance learning and assessment in Social Studies

Challenge: More and more content and standards are being heaped on teachers, and the only way to explore essential subjects like Social Studies and Computer Science will be to integrate.

Technology: Ozobots, Hummingbird robots, Solar panels and circuits

Models: Inquiry to discover connections between STEM and Social Studies, Demonstration of lessons, Collaborative discussion.

Lesson Plans: Using Ozobots to tell personal histories, recount historical events, etc. Using Hummingbird robots to build interactive dioramas and other representations. Exploring power on the Navajo Nation through solar panels and circuits. Animating legends in Scratch.

Evidence of success: I presented a similar session at a massive district (85,000 students) professional development workshop and teachers were very pleased.


*Times depend on new session length and can be adapted as needed.
5 min. Welcome
10 min. Inquiry - online interactive element - what are connections between STEM and Social Studies? Compare definitions and examine other resources. Why should we connect the two? STEM equity, time constraints.
10 min Lesson 1 exploration: Ozobots and storytelling.
10 min Lesson 2 exploration: Building interactive dioramas, models of inventions, and other representations with Hummingbird.
10 min Lesson 3 exploration: Solar power on the Navajo Nation.
10 min Lesson 4 exploration: Scratch legends
10 min. Collaborative discussion - working with teachers across disciplines to generate lesson and project ideas.
5 min. Conclusion

Supporting research

More [+]


Dr. Suzy Cox, Utah Valley University
ISTE Certified Educator
Michelle Gibbons, Utah Valley University
Dr. Krista Ruggles, Utah Valley University
ISTE Certified Educator

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