Math/Science Partnership STEM Workshop Series - TIU11 STEM Initiatives

Information regarding TIU STEM activities

TIU 11 would like to announce a series of STEM workshops available for MSP participants at the TIU 11 main office in McVeytown. These workshops will provide deeper dives into some of the tools and techniques you encountered over the last several years and will introduce several new ones as well. Currently, we have four workshops scheduled – September 28th, October 20th, October 25th, and November 18th.

The workshops on September 28th, October 25th, and November 18th are scheduled 9AM to 3PM. The October 20th workshop is a half-day event scheduled from 9AM to 12PM. Lunch will not be provided, though we will be coordinating a pick-up order from Harshbarger’s Sub-and-Malt in McVeytown. If you would like to place an order, please bring cash.

The term of the grant will permit us to cover the cost of your mileage for the September workshop. Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide this funding for the subsequent workshops.

At this point, these workshops are available to MSP participants only. However, if you have colleagues who would be interested in attending, please encourage them to register, but they will be placed on a waitlist. If space permits, those individuals will be invited as well.

STEM Workshop

September 28th: STEM Explorations with Raspberry Pi

This full-day workshop is designed to show teachers how they can introduce electronics and coding to their students. Teachers will learn how to use the Raspberry Pi to develop STEM activities and how the Pi can be integrated into the classroom. In this workshop, we will cover:

  • Getting started with circuits (breadboarding)
  • Understanding the basics of how microcontrollers work
  • Getting started with the Raspberry Pi
  • Connecting the Pi to breadboard (controlling LEDs and adding components)
  • Starting to code with Scratch and Node-red
  • Introducing students to the Internet of Things
  • Raspberry Pi-powered robots (GoPiGo)
  • Programming the GoPiGo robots with Scratch
  • Adding sensors to make the robot smart


October 20th (½ day): Coding Fundamentals with Breadboards and Microcomputing

This half-day workshop will focus on learning basic electronics by using a breadboard. Teachers will learn to build complete circuits, with buttons, LEDs, and buzzers and get a basic understanding of prototyping electronics. In this workshop, we will cover:

  • Getting started with circuits (breadboarding)
  • Understanding the basics of how microcontrollers work
  • Getting started with the Raspberry Pi
  • Connecting the Pi to breadboard (controlling LEDs and adding components)
  • Coding with Python and Scratch to control the circuits
  • Connecting your circuits to the internet.


October 25th: STEM Design Challenges with LEGO Robotics

This full-day workshop will cover teaching integrated STEM through engineering design challenges, specifically with LEGO Robotics. We will review the characteristics of engineering design challenges, such as those developed by FIRST LEGO League in their annual competitions, and explore how teachers can replicate those experiences in their own classrooms, with or without LEGOs. In this workshop, we will cover:

  • The engineering design process and design thinking
  • Essential characteristics of design challenges
  • Strategies for facilitating design challenges
  • Evaluating design challenges

Note: Starting this year, the ACT Consortium (a new partnership among IUs 8, 10, and 11) will be hosting a FIRST LEGO League robotics competition for the Central PA region. If you are an MSP teacher attending this workshop and are interested in putting together a team for the LEGO competition, we will have a limited number of LEGO EV3 kits available to borrow ($450 if purchased). As a team, you would still be responsible for registration fees and the 2016 competition kit.

November 18th: Making and Inventing in the Classroom with littleBits

This full-day workshop will explore strategies for integrating STEM through hands-on building activities. Participants will learn how littleBits can be used to introduce elementary and middle school students to the engineering design process. littleBits are small electrical components, including switches, sensors, motors, and lights, that snap together like Legos. Students can combine littleBits with traditional arts and crafts materials to prototype inventions of all kinds. In this workshop, we will cover:

  • The Maker Movement
  • Integrated STEM and STEAM
  • Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom
  • The design process and design thinking
  • Exploring electrical circuitry with paper circuits and littleBits
  • Understanding inputs, switches, and outputs
  • Combining electronics with handmade designs
  • Creating and facilitating design challenges
  • Extensions and additional resources to encourage student inventiveness