I am trying to organize a STEAM education program for all age groups who are under acute and chronic car in children's hospitals. Because this population includes a large range of ages and abilities I am wondering if a learning trajectory can be set up for such a complex community. Ideas? 

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  • It sounds like you are doing some really important work. My thoughts would be that the most challenging part of applying the learning trajectory approach for this population would be in understanding their development and adapting instructional activities to something that is interesting to them. Consider that a learning trajectory has 3 parts - a goal, a developmental progression, and instruction.

    Our goals will be the same for children in this difficult situation (e.g. we want them to learn counting or patterning/algebraic thinking). So, we start with a domain, such as Science, then a broad topic, such as Nature, that might offer learining opportunities. Maybe the hospitals have a plant in the room or a therapy animal visits?

    The second step is a developmental progression - Some of the work the STEMIE center is doing now on development of science indicates that a child's understanding of nature could begin with observing living things, then describing them, identifying similarities and differences, sorting and classifying based on properties, and then investigating how differences relate to how that object functions or how that animal uses its different characteristics.

    While the youngest of the children you are working with might simply observe a therapy animal, others may be ready to describe it. Others may be interested in looking at books which have a similar animal in them, and be ready to describe differences and similarities between a cat, dog, bird. Some may even be able to describe how a birds wings help it fly or a cats claws help it climb. Instructional activities could be focused to notice what children are able to do and to provide ideas for how to challenge them to go to the next step! Would those kinds of activities be of interest to you?

    Thanks for sharing a bit about your inspiring work!

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