Iron Mountain, MI
School Team of the Month - February 2018
What is the focus of your STEM Impact Plan work this year?
Our team is focused on creating a STEM culture within our school. We are working with students, staff, and parents to develop an environment where equitable STEM opportunities are available.
What exciting STEM experiences have happened at your school so far this year?
Our middle school science class has emphasized hands-on learning through dissections and the Engineering Design Process (EDP). For example, students have employed the EDP while constructing musical instruments to demonstrate aspects of sound.
The EDP also made its way into a newly offered fifth-grade STEM elective. The students involved with the STEM class have utilized the EDP to create aid-drop packages. After they learned about potential and kinetic energy, they designed race tracks that would keep the momentum of their car going. The elective began with two interested students and has grown to involve six students!
STEM continues after school with "STEM Inquiries": a student-driven opportunity to explore STEM via teacher-prepared kits focused on one current STEM topic. Teachers emphasize the importance of improving initial designs and provide opportunities for students to engage in redesigns.
Looking ahead, our school will participate as a new team in at least one grant-funded robotics regional competition this school year. The competition opens up a STEM opportunity for our students in grades 4-8 where they use the EDP to design, troubleshoot, and communicate results.
Also in the works this spring is an effort to organize robotics competitions for local schools. Our school is participating as a new team in two divisions (4-6 and 7-8). Community involvement has been instrumental in these efforts as local businesses have donated materials, funds, and volunteers (many of whom are engineers) to assist teams with design and coding.
In what ways have you been able to engage members of your school, local community, or other STEM Teaching Fellows?
We have been able to engage members of our school and community through our BBCS STEM Facebook page as well as our STEM website
. Sixth-grade students even helped add content to the website by researching and writing Catholic Scientist Spotlights
We have also pioneered a series of "STEM Talks" in which local STEM professions visit our school to talk about their careers with middle school students.
Finally, we have continued to educate fellow teachers and administrators about our mission and goals for STEM at BBCS!