global STEM classes

Four Take-Aways from the CT STEM Conference (#CTSTEM17)

By Sam Gordon

As a former Hartford-area resident and current STEM nerd, I was very excited to attend the Annual Connecticut STEM Conference at The Connecticut Science Center last week together with Oletha Walker, who has taught several Level Up Village courses at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Windsor. Throughout the conference, STEM was discussed not merely as a collection of four subjects, but as a bridge to other disciplines with highly relevant, real-world applications. Here are my key takeaways from the conference:

Teachers are Connecting Globally, too!

Level Up Village (LUV) has introduced some exciting new features to its global communication platform in recent months. Two additions, in particular, are proving to be extremely popular: LUV Live Video Chat and Teacher-to-Teacher chat.

Authentic Lessons in Today’s Global Classroom

By Amanda Spurling, 3rd Grade Teacher, Fayetteville School in Talladega County, Alabama

Education has seen major shifts in the past decade. Rather than providing students all the information they need to learn, teachers now take on more of a facilitator role, guiding students to think and locate information they need for themselves. Moreover, the careers that students are being prepared to enter are changing. As educators, we are challenged to prepare students for careers in a global economy by providing engaging and authentic lessons that tap into important 21st Century skills. One way my school district is tackling this challenge is by partnering with Level Up Village (LUV).

Real-World Projects Catalyze Foreign Language Learning

One of the most exciting trends we’ve seen at Level Up Village in the past two years is how our courses are increasingly being offered by schools looking to combine global cross-curricular projects with foreign language. Educators are well aware that they can supercharge their students’ foreign language learning by providing meaningful, real-world opportunities to practice their communication skills. In fact, researchers have learned that second language learning is most effective when students are really excited about the task they’re working on and language is merely the tool they need to get the work done.

Global Competency in the 21st Century Classroom

Learning how to communicate and collaborate with peers from diverse cultures is an essential skill for the 21st Century classroom and will help prepare students to enter the global workforce with confidence. Global competency is fundamental to our work at Level Up Village, and this school year we’re even more focused on helping teachers develop a better understanding of what it is and how to help their students become global citizens who communicate respectfully and interact productively with partner students across the world through our global STEAM courses.

Cross-Cultural Exchanges Expand the Classroom for Pingry Lower Schoolers

Guest post by Andrea Dawson, The Pingry School

“So, what is your favorite subject? Hope you had fun learning about my school day. Tell me about yours!” exclaimed Paige Travers ’25, an exuberant fourth-grade student on the Short Hills campus. She was just wrapping up one in a series of self-made videos in which she explained, with liberal use of hand gestures, her typical school day, her favorite hobby, and what holiday celebration she most enjoyed. Shortly, the video’s recipient in Kenya, would eagerly receive it and respond in kind with a video of her own.

Problem Solving Through a Global Lens at Summer STEAM Camp

By John Childs, Program Director, Mental Fitness 21st Century Learning

“OMG! We could help give clean water to all our brothers and sisters in Africa!” This was the ‘eureka moment’ for one of our 8-10-year-old students while seeing the results of an experiment in Level Up Village’s Global Scientist course. The students collaborated on the design of a water collection apparatus made from leaves, some plastic, a few heavy rocks with a carefully dug hole it all came together very nicely! When students can connect learning with the solution of problems the education becomes relevant and meaningful and most of all fun.

We Are Able to Make a Difference in the World (Student Blog Post)

By AB3 Smartacles, fifth-grade student at Oak Grove Elementary in Roanoke, Virginia

…During this project, we used a website called TinkerCad. It is like a digital blueprint because it maps out a grid and it gives you specific measurements. You can use or create your own design and if you get permission you can print it out on a 3-D printer. In this website, we are creating a Solar Powered flashlight. It can be quite fun, but difficult at the same time. In Tinkercad when you’re creating the flashlight you must have the correct measurements and you can personalize it by adding special features.

“Involve me and I’ll Learn” – a Letter from a Ugandan Student to Level Up Village

By Katrina A., student at Gayaza H.S. in Uganda

When I joined Gayaza High School in 2016, I was relatively quiet until third term when I was enrolled in the “I am Malala” class. I was so fascinated with Malala’s courage to fight for what nearly got her killed. It was at that moment I asked myself what I believe in and what is worth fighting for.

Alabama School District Brings a Global Focus to its STEAM Programs

“Level Up Village has allowed our students to branch outside the walls of Lincoln Elementary School into a global setting where they are solving real world problems,” said Shannon Hill, Instructional Partner at Lincoln Elementary. “Through the use of one to one video message exchanges with their assigned global partner, our students learned about different cultures, causing them to connect both physically and emotionally to this project. It amazes me to see 3rd grade students rise up to the challenge by designing fully functional solar powered flashlights through digital software and 3D printing.”