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STEM pattern

STEM pattern

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School

St. Charles Borromeo - Trustey Family STEM Teaching Fellows
School Location:
Oklahoma City, OK

Valerie Lassiter
Kathy Rooker
Beverly Swickey
School Website:
School Team of the Month - April 2018
What is the focus of your STEM Impact Plan work this year?
Our STEM Impact Plan focuses on developing a common language for STEM at St. Charles by holding regular professional development sessions with the faculty. We have used the Engineering Design Process (EDP) as our framework and common language, and we have applied it to a faculty STEM project. Our entire faculty has come together to design and build a weather station for our outdoor classroom. Teachers are working in groups to develop various weather instruments that will be placed in the outdoor classroom where all students can collect data. Our teachers have been very enthusiastic and have really taken ownership of their part of the project.  
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What exciting STEM experiences have happened at your school so far this year? 
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In eighth grade, our students used the EDP to build paper roller coasters using their knowledge of force, motion, and slope. In fifth grade, students planned a picnic lunch to fit inside the given dimensions of a picnic basket and learned how to modify their plans for different sized baskets. Teachers in other grades are enthusiastic about incorporating STEM lessons. Kindergarten investigated ways to melt ice the fastest, and Pre-K designed and built houses to withstand the huffing and puffing of the Big Bad Wolf.
We are working hard to plan a STEM fair before the end of the school year. Our idea is to have each class work on a project to test and share with the rest of the school in a fun, carnival-like atmosphere. If our grandiose plans don’t materialize because the calendar doesn’t cooperate, we plan to kick off next school year with the fair. 
In what ways have you been able to engage members of your school, local community, or other STEM Teaching Fellows?
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Besides our faculty taking on the outdoor classroom weather station project with enthusiasm, our administration has been fully supportive and has facilitated and participated in making the project a success. At our upcoming Archdiocesan Teacher In-Service, the three of us will be presenting a workshop about our experiences as Trustey Fellows along with an introduction to the Engineering Design Process. 

Last summer, during our STEM Integration brainstorming sessions with Cohort 2, we discussed the idea of building roller coasters with Yanny. She sent us some links and the lesson we used with our 8th grade class. Thank you, Yanny! 

One of our goals is to try to reach out to local community members and get them involved with our school STEM Program. Scientists from the Oklahoma Mesonet attend our school science fair and judge the projects of our students. This gives our students the opportunity to meet “real” scientists, and we want to build on that.  

Another one of our goals is to reach out to our school families. We have a school science night every year and have a great turn-out. We want to build on that success and find new ways to engage (and inform) parents as well as students about our STEM program at St. Charles.