The Reviews Are In – What Teachers are Saying About MyStemKits.com
Interested in what we’re offering at MyStemKits.com but not sure it will live up to its promises? Read below and find out what real teachers in real schools have said about our product and how they’re using it in their classrooms. You won’t be disappointed.
Heather Alden Lassiter
Middle School Biology teacher
Darwin’s Finches Kit – This teacher set up her lesson as if her students had just stepped off the Beagle. Then, they had to classify and identify the species they found. This particular day, she was being “observed by the DOE, and they loved it, kept bringing people back to see it over the course of a couple days.” As for the students, “I’ve never seen them so engaged.”
Hominid Species and Tools Kit – For this lesson, she decided to integrate geography, having the students color in a map of where each of the specimens were found in addition to the activities outlined in the lesson plan. “It was the best lesson in my five years.”
High School Math Teacher
“I really liked that they were working with something that was real-life and I loved the way … they were motivated to work through the math but to also be able to figure out the sampling portion. That motivated them to work through fractions, decimals, percents. It really brought out the misconceptions.
“… Just makes a nice easy quadrat. That’s something you can put together and take apart real easily.
“Even my most difficult class, it’s at the end of the day, they’re all tired and they have a hard time focusing, they were so engaged and really working together. … students that usually are very excitable and have a hard time sitting still were sitting still working. There’s just a lot of action, a lot of learning going on and it’s really really good. And they liked it. I had a student that asked for more. ‘Can we do more things like this’ … because it’s so interactive.
“… There’s a lot a multilevel of learning in this that I did not even expect.”
P. Bryant Chase
– Professor of Biological Sciences at Florida State University
Sickle Cell Kit – This college professor has worked with FCR-STEM training K-12 teachers to use this kit in their classrooms, and enjoyed it so much, he integrated it into his own curriculum. Read below to find out what he’s doing:
“Thank you for all that you have done to support the summer institutes and education in general. I have used the sickle-cell kit in the introductory biology class for majors (BSC2010) and the non-majors biology class (BSC1005). In the majors’ class, we look at the hemoglobin manipulatives first when we talk about protein structure and function, again when we talk about the circulatory system, and a third time when we talk about molecular genetics / gene expression / mutations. The manipulatives add an important dimension to the 2-dimensional illustrations provided in their text. They greatly enhance the discussion about combinations of genes versus proteins in carriers versus those with sickle cell disease versus unaffected individuals, and stimulate mechanistic thinking about why heterozygotes (carriers) don’t experience sickle cell episodes even though they produce some of the mutated protein, and have some hemoglobin protein with the mutation in both beta subunits. In the non-majors’ class, we talk about hemoglobin and sickle cell in the context of oxygen transport by the circulatory system.”
– K-5 Instructional Staff Developer
Natalie is a former curriculum developer and tested our kits in the classroom with teachers to make sure the design suited the purpose. She’s since returned full-time to the classroom, where she’s putting the kits to good use. Here’s what she and the teachers she’s worked with have to say about our elementary kits.
“When using the 3D printed models for mathematics from MyStemKits.com, my teachers and I noticed an instant increase in student engagement that allowed for more meaningful learning tasks. The students were able to explore their thinking, problem-solve, apply new knowledge, and develop rich discussions through the use of 3D printed models.”
Image courtesy FCR-STEM during one of their curriculum-development sessions Natalie ran.
– Middle School Science Teacher
Enzyme Substrate Interaction Kit – This teacher participated in one of the FCR-STEM Learn institutes and received this kit to integrate into his classroom. Here’s what he had to say: “This is an excellent resource. The manipulative allows the students, specially [sic] kinesthetic learners to make sense of the process.”
– Professional Development Specialist, K-12
“In June 2016, my district planned a three-day STEAM Conference for teachers. At the conference, teachers had the choice to attend numerous STEM related professional learning opportunities. Several sessions focused on the use of 3-D printing in education. One session, offered by Hannah Olson, introduced teachers to MySTEMkits.com – their lessons and associated manipulatives. It wasn’t long into the presentation that the teachers realized how they could make a textbook come alive for their students. For example, instead of reading about Darwin’s finches, they could print Darwin’s finch skulls to investigate and theorize the way Darwin did – the students would have an authentic learning experience. Since we need to find new ways to engage and motivate students, the teachers were sold and wanted more.
“The Current Program: A high school technology teacher was at the MySTEMkits.com session and afterward approached me with an idea. He in essence proposed that his Advanced Computer Class would develop a business model, using the 3-D printers and MySTEMkits.com, to support the district teachers with manipulatives and lessons. The plan included creating a paperless ordering platform, production of the manipulatives, printing the lessons that correlated to the 3-D printed manipulatives, packaging and delivery of the materials, hardware and software maintenance and problem solving, ordering raw materials according to a production schedule/time line, and offering time schedules to district teachers of projected order dates based on provided print times… This business model offers his students a real world opportunity, running a small business, and provides Charlotte County K-12 teachers a means to access highly motivating, hands-on lessons and manipulatives. My only wish is that I had more 3-D printers and MySTEMkits.com licenses.
We are thrilled of the successes we are experiencing through this program.”
As of November, they have over 600 orders from teachers, and nearly 100 delivered. As for the Computer teacher, “He and his students are loving it!”
– High School Biology Teacher
Blood Type Compatibility Kit – Cindy attended one of our idea-generation workshops and helped us come up with the idea and design for this kit. Together we worked to create something that could be used in her classrooms. Here’s what she says about it after having used it:
“The blood type kit is getting a lot of attention and I just used it in a lesson with my students which was observed by my principal. (He loved it.) There is always a moment when I see it click. It really is rewarding to see them understand a concept that used to take several lessons to teach and now it can be done in one quick demo and hands on activity.
“I used to use a big complicated poster on blood groups, antigens, and antibodies to teach this concept and now I put this kit in their hands and you can see the neurons making new connections. They really understand it.
“The beauty of the kit is that it can be used in all levels, from 9th grade biology through AP Biology.”
*Emphasis added to quotes
Share your testimonials and use-cases in the comments!
Now that you’ve heard what actual users are saying, what are you waiting for?