Organizations across South Florida are rising to the challenge of keeping students engaged and creative during the era of social distancing. The Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) and Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) threw their proverbial hats into the ring by engineering an eight-week STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum aligned with Florida’s Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (BEST) standards for students of all grade levels to support the BCPS’s Department of Applied Learning. This “MODS Challenge” allows students in grades Pre-K through 12, teachers, and parents to solve real-world problems through STEAM and project-based learning.
The curriculum bolsters twenty-first century skills, including creativity, critical thinking, design, teamwork, leadership, risk-taking, and perseverance. Additionally, the weekly challenges offer selected readings for each grade level, as well as access to some of the IMAX® films in MODS’s library of documentaries. The challenges strive to empower students to become STEAM learners and passionate problem-solvers for life, even during social distancing.
“It is the museum’s mission to connect students to inspiring science from Pre-K through career,” said Joseph P. Cox, president and CEO at MODS. “We are proud to partner with Broward County Public Schools to provide an enriching STEAM curriculum to students. MODS and the district have built an enduring partnership across many years, and through unprecedented times like these, our collaboration will strengthen this community.”
The initiative also provides added real-world experiences for BCPS high school juniors and seniors who are part of MODS’ APP-titude internship program. They are working with MODS educators to create video content for the weekly challenges. APP-titude is an internship program at MODS that gives student interns the opportunity to earn college credit, a mini-scholarship, and, with the MODS Challenge, volunteer service hours for peer-to-peer learning.
“Our district values the strategic relationship we have with the Museum of Discovery and Science. Through this partnership, we are collaborating to create new, unique learning opportunities for our students and families,” Superintendent Robert W. Runcie said. “The MODS Challenge is just one example of how we are working to transform virtual education with real-world activities that engage students while supporting their ongoing learning.”