Helping Kids Become Strategic Team Leaders and Expert Problem Solvers
We offer enrichment experiences that allow kids to be part of building their own cognitive portfolios. We use gamification mechanics to increase engagement so that kids can enjoy the process of strengthening their critical, creative, strategic, and computational thinking skills.
Rob Monahan, Founder
Rob was a NYCDOE Pre-K - 5 science teacher for 13 years and piloted the first explicit critical thinking course in the NYCDOE system before starting his private education consulting business, STEM Passport about 12 years ago. He currently works with students internationally and his expertise is grounded in using games and gamification as learning and motivational tools. Over the last 25 years, he has worked directly with over 15,000 students and his innovative programs have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Daily News, and on shows such as The Food Network and the nationally syndicated Nickelodeon show, Cyberchase. Rob started working with the GRYC (one of the largest afterschool providers in NYC) as the Education Director in 2015;
leading a team of 250 educators and 8 education specialists spread across 26 schools in developing curricula and delivering free afterschool STEM, Literacy, Leadership, the Arts, and Health/Wellness programs to over 3,000 kids every day. In the realm of higher education, Rob was a former adjunct professor at PACE University, where he taught the graduate-level Interdisciplinary Science Methods course and he is currently working towards his Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Learning Science, with an emphasis on game-based elementary STEM education. Rob has included his innovative programs and methods in a number of proposals and to date, grant awards for delivering free education services are in excess of 6 million dollars (and counting). STEM Passport, now a 501c3, partners with other non-profits to offer students opportunities they might not ordinarily have access to. Camp Wabenaki, a non-profit, private 30-acre lakeside campsite in Harriman State Park, is an example. To date, Rob’s team has worked to send over 1,000 students from underserved communities in Queens, NY to the camp, 100% free of charge. Lucas’s Fitness Lab is a premier partner. This is a 12,000-square-foot maker space where artists, engineers, and makers are part of community-based residency programs. To date, Lucas’s has provided STEM and engineering kits and in-house educational programming to approximately 5,000 kids. These programs are centered around helping kids learn to create and use the tools they need to support “brain and body fitness” and to build a better future for themselves.
3 Pillars of Rob's Teaching Philosophy
Collective Emotional Intelligence
Using design thinking to nurture creativity, collaborative problem solving, empathy, and awareness.
Recognizing cognitive biases, logical fallacies, and misconceptions in ourselves and others helps kids develop metacognitive skills
Systems & Strategy
Teaching and learning in a way that includes diagnosing, forecasting, creating, reflecting, and evolving.
Using a scaffolded approach to build adaptive expertise and game thinking to both teach and learn from students.
Addressing mechanisms of how we learn, remember, problem-solve, and pay attention, rather than focusing on memorizing information.
Accepting the construct of educational individuality.
Focus on the process, not the tools!
If we make the process of learning and solving problems fun, introducing the tools needed to complete projects becomes a simple task. When we use a tool-based approach, learning feels forced and out of context for kids.