Rancho Santa Margarita, California
School Team of the Month - Summer 2016
What is the most ambitious element of your STEM Impact Plan work so far?
The most ambitious piece of our STEM Impact Plan is the addition of a STEAM Wing on campus. Groundbreaking is December 4th, 2016. We are excited for the new building and all the innovative learning opportunities that will take place inside and around it. The spaces inside and outside are flexible, so students will be able to move throughout the building, and even to the outside of the building, to explore the environment and experience the different spaces. The STEAM Wing will offer a place for student creativity to flourish and learning to take place at its prime and at various stages. The spaces will be identified by driving words, which will be embedded into flexible classroom practices: Think Tank, Discuss, Research, Production, Perform, & Build.
The STEAM Wing will allow a natural workplace for students to tap and unleash their creative and innovative spirit and potential. The new STEAM Wing will be a place for every child who walks in, to discover, ignite, and build upon their passion! This building and space will invite creativity, exploration, and nurture “Everything we make and do is in collaboration with the Divine.”
What exciting STEM experiences are happening in your schools?
Our 3rd grade students asked their teachers, “If there is one thing you could use for the classroom that we can design and 3D print, what would it be?” The most popular answer was a door stop. Students were presented with a challenge to create a door stop, not only a door stop, but a unique door stop, that fits the height, width, depth, and angle measurements of the 3rd grade classrooms.
3rd grade students learned about the engineering design process and then worked in teams to design a door stop for their homeroom. The teams worked through ideas and iterations of their designs, produced a blueprint of their design using the app 123D, and presented their design to the class for the final vote. Once the class voted, the winning door stop design was ready for 3D printing. It’s a one of a kind doorstop!
After sending out a survey to parents about STEAM, the results indicated parents wanted to learn more about STEAM and also participate in a Family STEAM Night. We underestimated the interest, and with over 300 people in attendance, St. Serra's first Family STEAM Night was full of energy and excitement. Students and parents engaged in hands-on activities and experienced how the STEAM disciplines apply to different aspects of space and flight. Our local high school’s Robotics Team shared their robots and put people to the challenge of controlling the robots to perform different tasks. Throughout the evening there was a buzz in the air with conversations around all the different stations. One of the most common remarks made was that there was something for every age! We are excited for this new tradition and look forward to next year’s Family STEAM Night with the theme: The Five Senses of the Human Body.
In what ways have you been able to engage other members of your school, local community, or other STEM Teaching Fellows?
After our experience at Notre Dame one of our main goals for the first year was to better understand teachers' knowledge of STEM collectively, at individual grade levels, and at individual subjects. We were able to survey teachers, hold professional development days where grade levels discussed where they are “now” in STEM integration, and set STEM Goals for next year. This next school year, 5th-8th grade teachers will have common planning time every day to open up time for cross-curricular discussion and develop a rich project based learning environment that integrates all subjects.
A local company, Thorough Packaging, gave a presentation to students about TICCIT (Trees Into Cartons, Cartons Into Trees). We received saplings to plant and learned the life cycle of a tree, the natural renewability and sustainability of paperboard packaging, as well as the benefits of recycling.