A hallmark of a successful design challenge is the exhibition of student learning, or, showcase. This is where students get to present and defend their solution to an authentic audience. We have asked all schools participating in the #STEMfeedsOhio design challenge to host a school showcase. Following the school showcases, we will invite select teams from schools to participate in the statewide showcase at Battelle. Though each school can decide how to run their student showcase, here are some ideas to consider as you plan.
First, choose a date and communicate to all your participating teachers and students. Next, brainstorm a list of potential judges, and encourage people to invite community members. For this year’s design challenge, we have asked schools to complete their individual school showcases by April 18, 2019. This will allow us enough time to finalize details for the statewide showcase at Battelle on May 8, 2019.
Choosing your location can be a way to be creative and engage your community. Many schools host their showcase in the school library, classroom, or gymnasium. However, you are not confined to school grounds. Many public libraries have open spaces or rooms that would be great to have students present their work. Consider hosting your showcase at a venue that relates to the theme, like a local food pantry or restaurant. Are there any community partners that have worked with your students during the design challenge who would be willing to host? No matter what you choose, be sure that your students have space to present their work to the whole audience and that your audience can hear your students. Of course, make sure you have informed guests, parents, judges, etc. of location and time.
Connecting students with an authentic, diverse audience is foundation of an effective showcase. That audience can include community members, subject matter experts, and parents. Presenting to people outside the school gives students an opportunity to showcase their expertise, hone their presentation skills and learn how to defend their thinking. But there are other benefits too. Showcases are a great way to engage your community and highlight your students’ hard work. Seeing their work connect with people outside of school increases student engagement and excitement about the design challenge.
As you design your student showcase, you will decide whether you are going to have judges, and how they will give feedback to students. Will you create a rubric? (We recommend one) Will judges provide feedback directly to students, or write it down on a form? Will the judges come together to decide who had the best presentation? These considerations are up to each school. Overall, receiving feedback and making changes are key elements of the design cycle.
Christine Schafrath, teacher from HS2 STEM Academy, invited four judges to sit on a panel and had students present “Shark Tank” style to the panel and classmates. Students were offered a set amount of time to present their solution and then had the opportunity to receive feedback and/or answer questions from the guest panelists.
National Inventor’s Hall of Fame Middle School hosted a walk-through style showcase. Students set up in the gym and judges visited each table and talked to students as they made their way as throughout the gym. Winchester Trail Elementary school set up their sessions in a similar fashion. They had also invited parents and community members to join in alongside the judges.
Once you have a date and location, set a plan for the actual run of show. Schools can create rubrics for judges/ panelists to use. If you create a rubric, share expectations with your students prior to showcase. Make sure you and other teachers helping have plans for who speaks when, how long students have to present, who will give time cues, who is greeting your guests, and all of those details.
We would love to attend your schools’ preliminary showcase, so please keep in touch with us about the date and time of your showcase. If you haven’t already done so, please let us know when your school showcase is scheduled. Below, we’ve listed the 31 schools who have registered to participate so far.
Tag #STEMfeedsOhio and post some photos of the day’s successful event. We can’t wait what your students create.