Daniel Massey: Giving students skills they can use long after they leave school

Year: 2018 – Province: British Columbia

Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM

Daniel Massey

Constable Neil Bruce Middle School
2010 Daimler Drive
West Kelowna, BC V1Z 3X4

School telephone: 205-870-5177
School website: http://www.cnb.sd23.bc.ca
Weebly: http://makerdan.weebly.com/about.html

Subjects and grades taught: Math and Maker in grades 7 and 8

Greeted by Photon, a two-metre-tall robot, students who enter his classroom quickly learn that Dan Massey has never lost his sense of play. His interactive technology space engages young teens in fun and interactive activities suited to their interests and abilities.

Teaching approach

Dan integrates art, math, science, English, and technology to create projects and tasks that directly address the age-old question, "When will I need this information in real life?" He then encourages students to go beyond simply mimicking him when learning new skills to be creative and take risks.

STEM in the Classroom

  • Takes the mystery out of electronic devices—from laptops to 3D printers—by teaching students how they work and the vocabulary they need to know to speak about them knowledgeably
  • Designs projects so students see how various technologies and processes work together in a finished product: for example, students design artwork in 3D modelling software, covert and upload their file to a di-cutting program, and place the final vinyl design in a heat press to make a custom t-shirt
  • Supports learning by creating working models of all projects: students can visualize the final product and see the project criteria in action; students then work at their own pace (as long as the project is done by the end of the course) and can redo elements to improve their work
  • Integrates technology across the curriculum with fellow teachers: a unit on ancient civilizations saw students learn about ancient Rome and then design a never-before-seen artefact from that era; they then sketched their objects in math class and 3D printed them

Outstanding achievements

  • Introduced new technologies to the school, backed up by sound research: when faced with the choice between drones and virtual reality goggles, he chose the latter after determining that the school's location near a highway and busy industrial area would limit the use of drones
  • Developed school's new maker courses from the ground up, including planning all the lessons, and designing and building the necessary infrastructure necessary, including a wall of 150 bins for storing projects, parts and supplies
  • Participated in school district-university-community technology think tank to discuss the future of technology in education and how STEM/Maker could be imbedded into all curricula

Rave reviews

"Mr. Massey has taught me that failure is only another opportunity to learn, that success is just the first step of revision, and to persevere until your mind is satisfied with your accomplishments."