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STEM pattern

STEM pattern

St. Anthony de Padua Catholic School

St. Anthony 3

School Location:
South Bend, IN

Sarah Leblang
Katherine Alexander

School Website:

School Team of the Month - April 2017

What are you focusing your STEM Impact Plan work on for the coming year?

The goal of the STEM Impact Plan is to make STEM more visible at Saint Anthony de Padua School. In order to increase visibility, we are working to conduct more “genuine” STEM experiences to the student body including challenges within the classroom, school-wide challenges, and Trustey Challenges. The team is working on bridging the gap of understanding with teachers & parents by providing professional development opportunities, growth experiences, and resources. In order to support a common-vocabulary and integration, the team has created a STEM library, a website called STEM Panthers in Action, a STEM bulletin board in the hallway, and a STEM t-shirt. On March 20, 2017, we hosted a PD called “GLOW” into Spring STEM Ready. We had fifteen teachers present. At the PD, the Trustey Fellows worked on sharing the EIE Engineering Design Process, common vocabulary sheets, checklist for authentic STEM vs. Tinkering, and Productive Talk Moves.

The teachers who attended were challenged to look at the information, and before the end of the year, try to implement one STEM lesson with our STEM theme of conservation & stewardship based on the use of our school solar panels. Our school wide slogan is “ Let your light shine!” We have developed support from our pastor to present a homily about Stewardship & Conservation, we have contacted multiple presenters from the community to discuss sustainability & stewardship, and we have decided to work as a school on a school-wide Garden Market with the theme of STEMs will Grow!

What exciting STEM experiences have happened at your school so far this year?

This has been an exciting time to be a Panther! We have worked on introducing the Engineering Design Process to all students, Pre-K through 8th Grade. We have successfully completed several authentic STEM experiences for all grades. Two of our teachers have taken on STEM lessons without assistance based on the teacher-teach model. These teachers have felt extremely excited about their work.

Our STEM kickoff day was a huge success. Students in Pre-K-5 worked with the Rosie Revere Engineer book to solve problems that were age-appropriate. Students then had the opportunity to improve their designs and test again. Sixth Grade students competed to create cantilevers that could suspend the most dice over an edge of the desk, focusing on the Engineering Design Process. Seventh Graders created an obstacle course for the class bearded dragon, Fluffy, who needed more exercise. Teachers will extremely satisfied with the experience and asked that we do another event in the Spring. We are currently planning the next step!

Currently, our classrooms are working to develop STEM lessons that support our theme of conservation / sustainability / stewardship. We have multiple presenters coming in to discuss our solar panels and sustainability. Additionally, after I-STEP we will be planning a FUN week of Conservation Class Challenges centering around our theme. The final project will be each class will be in charge of planting something in their room and nurturing it to transport to the Garden Maker Space we are creating.

In what ways have you been able to engage other members of your school, local community, or other STEM Teaching Fellows?

We have had great buy-in from our school community. Our parents are beginning to understand the importance of STEM education and are offering their own expertise and time to assist with school activities. Our students are excited about STEM activities and are sharing their experiences with siblings and family.

Several Teachers/Staff took it upon themselves to create a Dr. Seuss Themed STEM Day, which was a huge success.

We have been working with other STEM Teaching Fellows to Create a Proposal for a possible STEM lab to open next year - send us your advice!