What is the focus of your STEM Blueprint work this year?
First, we felt it was important to grow individually in our practices with the knowledge we gained from the summer. We worked with our coaches to implement productive talk in our lessons. With the integration of productive talk, we observed more meaningful conversations in our classrooms. Second, our team worked together to create and co-teach a STEM integrated unit on human impact on earth. Lastly, to bring STEM awareness to our school communities, we are planning our first ever STEM family night to be held in May. This will be our first community event that will bring awareness to the STEM education happening in our school classrooms. At our STEM night, we are going to have hands-on activities for parents and students.
Our first exciting STEM experience was our integrated STEM unit. This integrated unit incorporated science, art, language arts, technology, and math. The unit of study was human impact on earth with a focus on pollution. Our team worked together to plan and co-teach the unit. Highlights of this experience included a Zoom video conference and the computer science integration. St. Cecilia and St. Polycarp students had a Zoom video conference to share their recycled art pieces. This collaboration between our schools was a goal in our blueprint plan. In computer science, students studied concepts of Scratch and created a game for their classmates to play that related to the topic of study: human impact on Earth. This kicked off the integration of Scratch into science lessons.
Another exciting STEM experience currently taking place at our schools is the integration of 3D printers. At St. Polycarp, students were introduced to Tinkercad and 3D polar cloud which they used to design and print their 3D objects. At. St. Cecilia, the 3D printers were set up and students are becoming familiar with Tinkercad. Both schools have met with other colleagues to brainstorm ways to incorporate 3D printing lessons in their subject areas.
In what ways have you been able to engage other members of your school, local community, or other STEM Teaching Fellows?
Throughout the year, our team engaged members of our school, parent community, and other STEM Teaching Fellows all in an effort to improve our STEM programs. At Back to School Night, we created and shared a video explaining the Trustey Fellows program and our goal as a team over the next few years. After the video, parents in our community were interested in the program and excited for our STEM program. At Open House, the community had an opportunity to view STEM projects that the students created. Next, we collected data from parent, teacher, and student surveys to gain an understanding of their opinions on STEM education. This allowed us to reflect as a team and plan according to the needs of our school. At both school sites, we reached out to our colleagues to brainstorm and create STEM integrated units using the 3D printers at our school sites. During the summer and over the course of the year, we communicated with other STEM Trustey Fellows to plan our STEM integrated unit and our first ever STEM Family Night.