K-5 Department Updates - STEM
STEM is the Latest BUZZ
Anyone who works in education can’t miss the fact that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is the latest buzz. Thinking about how to incorporate it into your everyday classroom or lives can be a bit overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be difficult! The teachers of Green Grove made great use of their professional development time to learn how to use simple strategies to create a productive learning experience for their students. Kristen Marlatt, STEM teacher at Green Grove School, shared some of the strategies that she learned from the NASA Endeavor Program at a recent professional development day. The idea is to teach students how to work collaboratively and collectively to solve real world problems through project based learning. Ms. Marlatt showed teachers a resource called Picture Perfect STEM which uses fiction and non-fiction books to guide inquiry. Teachers can easily incorporate these activities into their reading, writing, science, and math lessons using an interdisciplinary approach. The hands on workshop allowed teachers to have a better understanding of STEM concepts and disciplines as well as provide them a hands on experience by making levees to stop flood waters.
The STEM program is an initiative aimed at helping teachers modernize their curriculum for the 21st century. Materials can complement the existing STEM curriculum by integrating all four disciplines into a set of classes that’s easy to implement. Together we can hack the classroom, modernize lesson plans for a more tech-savvy student and democratize STEM education with affordable, everyday items.
LEGO Robotics Teacher Training
Mrs. Bruntz challenges her students: How tall can you build a structure? Design and construct a hurricane proof building. How can you move material across the room with just one finger? How many letters can your coconut tree hold? Build a structure to help the 3 Little Pigs stay safe. These are a few of the challenges our students from Pre-K through 5th grade have been working on in STEM classes this year and we’re just getting started. Here at Gables Elementary School students are imagining, designing, building, and improving their ideas to solve problems and complete tasks and the results are amazing! We can’t wait to see what our future scientists, technicians, engineers, and mathematicians will imagine next!
We got started at Midtown in our new STEM program by learning what STEM is. Beyond just knowing that the acronym stands for Science Technology Engineering Math, students learned that STEM is using available technology to solve a problem. To illustrate that concept, Mr. Tirrell told the students a true story from his childhood, "I broke a neighbor’s window playing baseball in my yard. In order to continue playing, I created a better ball to use. My new paper ball worked great - nobody gets hurt, nothing gets broken! I solved my problem through STEM." The students then used a small piece of paper (basic technology) to create something that could solve a problem they or someone else might have. Here are some of the creative responses students devised in just a few minutes, without any tools or ornamentation.
Problems: I am hungry... I am bored... I have nothing to play with...