Teacher Review For Design Squad Nation

Amazing STEM website!

Brandie H.
Classroom teacher
P.S. 8 Robert Fulton
Brooklyn, NY
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My Grades 5
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies
My Rating 5
Learning Scores
Engagement 5
Pedagogy 5
Support 5
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time 5-15 minutes
Great for Creation
Knowledge gain
Teacher-led lessons
Whole class
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
Special needs
How I Use It
I coach our school's robotics team and also lead an afterschool Lego club. This website is amazing because it has so many ideas for design challenges that I could present to my students. I love that the website also periodically presents new design challenges for students to try (it's not clear from the website how often new challenges are presented.) These challenges could be introduced and brainstormed in the classroom and then students could be allowed to continue working on the challenges with additional class time or even at home. I even like the idea of using these challenges with my regular class as activities for community building and problem solving. The fact that these activities are challenging, fun, and group-oriented make them ideal for teaching students how to respectfully share ideas with others, evaluate ideas presented by others, make a plan, and carry out the plan collaboratively. I could very happily do any of these design projects as a monthly community building activity with my class and I know they would love it and learn a lot about themselves as their classmates.
My Take
Overall, I truly love the website! Each page is full of colorful fonts and fun graphics, the videos are hosted by children, users are actively invited to submit their design ideas for challenges and share invention ideas, and users can make profiles and earn rewards. All of these aspects make the website incredibly engaging for students. The educational quality of the videos are high, as the videos clearly define terms that may be unfamiliar to students and explain concepts and phenomenon related to each project. Regarding the "Build" activities, there are extension activities that allow users to further their experience in a more complex way and there are facts that accompany each activity which explain the phenomena that allow the project to work. I love that the content of the "Build" projects are differentiated so that students can watch a video, read the steps online, download the steps so they can be printed, and even translate the steps into Spanish. Finally, the "Parent, Educators, and Engineers" page sort resources by topic, provide lesson plans and guides for themed activities, allows access to training resources, and invitations adults to join their blog and newsletter for further information.