Moore County Schools is in the middle of a transformation within our K-5 schools that is rooted in the integration of design thinking, digital learning, and the 4 C's (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication). Our teachers are having great success with embedding this flexible problem solving process in their daily work, and our students are benefitting from the culture shift in learning. Our K-5 schools have become the catalysts for change in our secondary schools.
As a result of this success, our digital learning team has led our district in the implementation of core instructional priorities as well as the crafting of our new district strategic plan. A main priority under academic achievement is the implementation of engaging instructional practices that build on the "4 Cs" (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity).
To date, our K-5 teachers have incorporated over 750 engineering/design projects since this effort began in 2016. We welcome the opportunity to spread these transformational best practices to school systems across the state of North Carolina. Register now for a site visit.
To prepare our youngest citizens for an exciting and uncertain future, schools must build skills such as creative thinking, problem solving, perseverance, and effective communication. Teaching our children to think like designers can foster this type of thinking.
Lindsey Portnoy, 2018
How It Began
In the fall of 2014, a group of Digital Integration Facilitators (DIFs) delivered Lego EV3 and NXT robotics that were scattered across the district to 5 elementary schools to start after-school robotics clubs. In the spring of 2015, MCS held our first Elementary Robotics Showcase. This initial spark lit a fire across all grade levels from kindergarten all the way to advanced robotics within our high schools. This year we will host 5 robotics events that will involve more than 650 students. Most after-school clubs are at capacity and students must apply to be on a robotics team.
The momentum generated from this movement led our digital learning team to expand the positive impact beyond after-school clubs and directly into our classrooms. This expansion was fueled by the creation of the K-5 Engineering Thread in the summer of 2016.
I don’t think anyone just gave up when they were frustrated. I think that frustration was turned into ‘what now’? It was as much a project on teamwork and discussions on the process of building as it was a STEM project to develop the catapult.
-Ms. Haarlow, 3rd Grade Teacher, Pinehurst ES
The Engineering Thread
This engineering thread is a set of 12 engineering mini projects, woven directly into our K-5 math and science pacing guides. Supported by our 11 DIFs, these projects incorporate both robotics and traditional materials (such as popsicle sticks, aluminum foil, and cardboard). The response to this curricular thread was immediate, enthusiastic, and overwhelming as we scrambled to meet the teacher demands for more.
Our DIF team, in conjunction with teachers, now continuously create engineering/design projects that have spread well outside the initial scope of the original 12 projects to include all content areas across all K-5 grade levels. This year we are beginning the process to expand these mini-projects into the secondary schools.