STEM is a new part of our elementary programming this year and it has taken off fast for our students at Glenwood and Eagle Point Elementary. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Our STEM mission is to provide students with the opportunity to learn the engineering design process, work with new technologies, problem solve, be creative, and think like a scientist.
Students will learn how to design something, test it out, make revisions, test it again and reflect on their learning. We will be using the International Standards for Technology in Education (ISTE) and Ohio’s New Learning Standards for Technology to guide the curriculum.
"One of the core skills we will be focusing on in STEM is basic block coding and robotics,” said Maria Pratt, Eagle Point STEM Teacher. “Our students are growing up in a digital era and basic programing skills are essential literacy for this next generation."
We will also incorporate grade level science and math standards to give students opportunities to apply what they are learning in the classroom to real-world, hands-on situations. As the future unfolds, and we are preparing children for jobs that don’t even exist yet. STEM is a great foundation for students in learning to adapt to the ever-changing world. We are so excited to offer STEM programming to our students starting in kindergarten.
We are already knee deep in STEM projects after the first few weeks of school. At Eagle Point in grades 3-5 they have been focusing on ‘Engineering Design Process.’ Students are presented with challenges such as the cups, craft sticks, and cubes challenge and cup pyramid challenge. Individuals work on developing strong communication skills and teamwork in small groups to design a plan, create the tower, and go through the improvement process to make their construction taller and more sturdy.
They have designed towers with 10 cups, crafts sticks, and cubes. The students are challenged to use only one cube and no cups for the base. Teams have also been challenged to create a plastic cup pyramid without touching the cups with their hands. They are given the tools of one rubber band and six strings. Student need to utilize strong communication and creative designing to develop a plan to achieve this goal. They often went back to the design stages to create a new plan of action.
At Glenwood Elementary, our students are already getting engrained with the basics. Kindergarten students built their names with playdough and had to problem solve if they were short dough, or couldn’t form a letter. In first grade, they made towers out of 14 pipe cleaners. Those students also designed foil boats and tested them in water while putting pennies in the boats to see how many they could hold. Students redesigned the boats to see if they could hold more in a second trial.
Second graders made paper chains out of construction paper
and 12 inches of tape and were only given scissors, pencil, and a ruler. The
longest chain was 12 feet and 3 inches. They also built towers out of 20 spaghetti
noodles, 3 feet of tape, 3 feet of string, and one marshmallow.
During Recess Exploration, students made domino runs, designed spinning tops of out linking cubes, made flowers, patterns, worked on chromebooks, and built structures with blocks.
"It has only been a few weeks, and STEM is already helping our students work together, problem solve and get used to trying again after a setback,” said Glenwood STEM Teacher Andrea Iman. “I see the students come in each week determined to try their best and not give up when the challenge is difficult."