Not Farewell: The Exploration and Discovery Continues

This post is by Kellie Taylor, Ed.D., the 2018-2019 Library of Congress Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow.

Kellie Taylor

It is difficult to write this blog post and consider saying farewell. My time at the Library of Congress has been an amazing adventure of discovery. In some ways I feel a bit like Lewis and Clark, who set off to explore westward and find a pathway to the Pacific Ocean, documenting their findings along the way. Much like the Lewis and Clark expedition, I started my journey of exploration and discovery with my prior experiences and training and filled in the blanks about primary sources along the way. Even though I did get lost in the tunnels my first week, I definitely found a pathway and connection from the Library of Congress resources to my classroom westward.

As a K-5 Engineering teacher, my initial focus was for creating a pathway between science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and the Library of Congress’s digitized primary sources. I looked at ways to assist students in examining technological advances, identifying problems, and developing solutions based on relevant primary sources. Much as Lewis and Clark documented what they found through communications to Thomas Jefferson and entries in their journals, I shared my findings through blog posts and social media. I further expanded my understanding of the Library’s resources and how I could connect it to the elementary classroom as I spent more time in the landscape of maps, music, rare books, prints and photographs, manuscripts, and so much more. Many of my adventures are documented in the Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Teachers Network and on the Teaching with the Library of Congress Blog.

My amazing journey is coming to come to an end, and I find my excitement continues to grow for heading home and taking back all I have learned to share with educators and students. While my fellowship may not contain significant geographic and scientific knowledge of the West, I know it will impact the students and educators within my sphere of influence.

Road cut into the barren hills which lead into Emmett, Idaho. Russell Lee, 1941

As I leave for my home in the West, I would like to share some of my favorite resources for connecting primary sources and STEM in the elementary classroom. Perhaps these will spark a journey of exploration and discovery for you.

Where will your journey of exploration and discovery take you?

Thank you to all at the Library of Congress and in the Einstein Fellowship program who have supported and contributed to my journey. My understanding is much more complete and detailed for having shared this journey with you. It’s time to go home.

50th Anniversary Celebration of the Historic American Engineering Record Collection

Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) collection was established in 1969 by the National Park Service, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Library of Congress. The collection documents historic sites and structures related to engineering and industry focusing less on the building fabric and more on the machinery and processes within.

Researching Aerial Locomotion – Kites and Alexander Graham Bell

In his quest for knowledge, Alexander Graham Bell meticulously documented his experiments through correspondence and journals. Studying these documents can lead to insights into his processes and approaches to recording his work as well as deeper understanding of particular experiments or inventions.

Empowering Your Students to Identify Problems by Connecting with Inventors from the Past

With the use of the engineering design process in science instruction and the advent of the maker movement, students are asked to identify problems and develop solutions. Solutions can be refined and improved through testing and modifications. The hands-on nature of working through the engineering design process can be engaging, but identifying or finding problems can be a difficult task for students.

Mathematics and Primary Sources: In Search of the Perfect Calendar

Sometimes analyzing primary sources can help us reflect on commonplace aspects of our culture that we take for granted, illustrating how arbitrary they are, or how they change over time. John Collins’ 1939 “Proposed Utopian Calendar”, an attempt to reform the Gregorian calendar, provides an opportunity for students to practice historical, mathematical, and scientific reasoning to reflect on how humans have historically sought to organize our activities.

Come Help Us Develop Teaching Materials from the Historic American Engineering Record!

The Learning and Innovation Office at the Library of Congress is excited to invite formal and informal educators working with 3rd through 12th grade students to join us for a unique in-person workshop experience. This single-day program will take place from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday, April 22, in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building.