About Alexandra Choquette
Alex Choquette’s passion for engineering started later in her high school career during a campus tour at the University of Pittsburgh. She immediately fell in love with engineering as a way to use her math and science skills to make an impact on society. Since earning her Industrial Engineering degree at the University of Pittsburgh, she has been passionate about teaching others the joy of engineering.
“I believe that all students should be exposed to the variety of options within an engineering career.
Engineering is not only about coding and robotics - it is so much more. We need to ensure the next generation knows about all of the options within an engineering career.”
In addition to her passion for engineering, Alex and her husband love boating on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, FL, hitting up estate sales to find antique treasures, and meeting new people in their Springfield community.
WHAT IS STEM/STEAM?
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In some instances, the acronym is adjusted to STEAM to include Arts/Design, which is an integral piece of the innovation equation. The acronym was born out of debates about the lack of qualified candidates for high-tech careers in the United States, which directly aligns to the mission and vision of Growin’GEERS.
WHAT AGES CAN PARTICIPATE IN GROWIN'GEERS?
Growin’GEERS can be utilized at home, in the classroom, after school, or wherever there are eager, elementary engineers who want to learn more about engineering! The quests can be completed by one child or with a team of three to five kids. Our activities are designed for 2nd through 5th grade students, but each lesson plan should be evaluated based on the individual student's level.
CAN I UTILIZE GROWIN'GEERS AS A SCIENCE CURRICULUM?
Growin'GEERS was specifically designed not to focus on one aspect of STEM. It was designed to truly integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math while encouraging problem-solving and critical thinking. We recommend that it be used as a supplement to learning about one of the countries we cover or as an additional engineering component to bring clarity to how a concept connects to the real world.
How is it STRUCTURED?
Our curriculum is organized into adventures (units) and quests (lesson plans). Each adventure takes place in a different part of the world and covers the culture, geography, and more. Within each adventure, our main character Flynn encounters three different problems that can be solved using engineering concepts. Each problem within the adventure is a separate quest. Each quest follows an adapted version of the engineering design process to reveal how engineers solve problems.
An adventure within our curriculum is similar to an educational unit. Each unit takes place in a specific region of the world where Flynn teaches the students about the country she is visiting. There are images of the country, discussions about the culture and the language, and information about the environment and industries that pertain to that specific region. Growin'GEERS is committed to ensuring that our curriculum integrates multiple subjects to provide an engaging learning experience.
The first session is Creativity, where students try to solve the problem with only their current knowledge and imagination. The second session is Research and Planning, where students learn about an engineering concept related to the problem. The last session is Rebuild and Refine, where students apply what they learned in the second session to their original design. At the end, there is a Test for Success to see if they were successful in solving the problem.
WHAT IS PROVIDED WITH A MEMBERSHIP?
1. ANIMATED VIDEOS OF FLYNN
The videos show Flynn on her journey around the world. She talks about where she is, the problem she has encountered, and much more. These are designed to provide the students with information about the quest and to keep them engaged in the activity.
2. STUDENT WORKSHEETS
Our student worksheets are a supplement to the hands-on aspect of every quest. They provide a space for the students to draw their ideas and plan their design. They also ask guiding questions to get them thinking.
3. A Planned Hands-On Activity
Growin’GEERS provides a clear outline of materials needed to complete the hands-on component of the lesson plan. In addition, we provide a Test for Success to decide if a design is successful and a “Suggested Solution” for the facilitator to understand the proposed solution. The suggested solution is not the only solution though; students should be encouraged to come up with their own design.
4. FACILITATOR RESOURCES
Growin’GEERS provides a variety of resources to assist any facilitator in guiding the activity. From a high-level problem all the way to guided facilitation questions, we provide materials to fit any facilitation style.
WHAT IS NOT PROVIDED?
With our online membership, Growin’GEERS does not provide the materials to complete a quest, so all hands-on activities are designed to be completed using household materials. Growin'GEERS provides a materials list with each quest that lists out the necessary materials, which can be purchased at your local dollar store or convenience store on a minimal budget. The materials may not even need to be purchased — they may be lying around the house.
Each material set was chosen for two specific reasons: 1. to encourage kids to use materials in different ways than they have seen them used in the past; and 2. to make it easy for you to find and purchase the materials for each session. All materials are connected back to the storyline to create a complete picture for the GEERlings.