SAN GABRIEL, CA – Nearly 100 educators from across the San Gabriel Valley pored over colorful sets of LEGOs, working intently to carry out their singular instruction: create a duck using only six LEGOs.

The task was one of many challenges that explored coding, robotics and creative instruction during the San Gabriel Unified’s first STEMposium, held at McKinley Elementary on Oct. 21.

“The message of the symposium was loud and clear: There are many ways to engage students in STEM, but the key is to be creative, collaborative and open to new possibilities,” McKinley Elementary Assistant Principal Tuoi Nguyen said. “We have to foster imagination and treat it as an asset to learning.”

The symposium – Inspiring and Developing the Builders of Tomorrow – showed teachers and administrators how to operate the tools and technology often used to aid science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instruction.

The symposium was sponsored by Lego Education, which provides products and curriculum designed to teach STEM skills.

The interactive workshops drew teachers and administrators from San Dimas, La Verne, Temple City, Arcadia, Pomona, Alhambra, Rosemead, Diamond Bar, La Crescenta, San Marino, Whittier, Los Angeles and San Gabriel.

Nguyen said McKinley hosted the symposium to share the benefits of STEM instruction with other educators while also highlighting its own comprehensive K-5 STEM program, which uses LEGO robots as part of its instruction.

Educators received hands-on lessons in programming several LEGO products, such as the WeDo 2.0 robots, which are designed for elementary school instruction, as well as more the complex Mindstorm EV3 robots, used in middle school curriculum.

During one workshop, attendees were tasked with programming EV3 robots to win a tug-of-war challenge. The challenge encouraged teachers to collaborate on a design and learn to use coding on an iPad to program the robots.

“It is essential to add and improve educational programs that prepare students for the rigors of a technologically-focused professional world,” SGUSD Superintendent Dr. John Pappalardo said. “We were pleased to take part in this symposium and help introduce other instructors to the creative possibilities that STEM education offers.”


103017_SANGAB_STEM: San Gabriel Unified teachers pose with one of the LEGO robots they learned to program during the District’s STEMposium on Oct. 21. Nearly 100 local educators gathered at McKinley Elementary learn how to aid STEM instruction with coding, robotics and creative lessons.