School Team of the Month - November 2017
What is the focus of your STEM Impact Plan work this year?
The first year of our STEM Integration Plan focuses on building understanding around the concept of STEM Integration. To start, we held a “S.T.E.M. vs STEM” professional development session during our first in-service. We followed that up with an open invitation to our regular STEM meetings in which faculty and staff can learn more about STEM and experience some STEM activities first hand. These PD opportunities coupled with growing interest amongst students has been an encouraging start to our STEM Impact Plan.
What exciting STEM opportunities have happened at your school so far this year?
Mike experienced great succes s in his 9th grade class by turning the film canister activity from Module 1 of the Summer Institute into a three day exercise. Day 1 consisted of trial-and-error as students attempted to float the film canister. Day 2 introduced the mathematics underlying the concepts of buo
yancy and volume. Students used math to problem solve and move beyond trial-and-error. On Day 3 he threw a "Svarovsky Curve Ball" and asked students to tape three canisters together to simulate a multi-hold cargo ship and transport equal masses of all four materials. In addition, Mike's 7th grade is exploring ecosystems and human impact by building, modifying, and observing mini-ecosystems in the form of terrariums they built in class.
Kevin and Bill opened the year with the cantilever activity, and it became a runaway hit. Originally, the 11th grade did not engage with the lesson but Kevin and Bill responded by placing them face to face with the very excited and successful 6th. Suddenly, the 11th grade could see what success looked like and became determined. Nikki is using coding to teach her STEM classes how to model, predict, and back track contagious diseases.
In what ways have you been able to engage other members of your school, local community, or other STEM Teaching Fellows?
Support from the community has been strong. Our STEM program received two huge boosts from the outside. First, a local engineering firm was upgrading their computers and donated all of their current desktops to help us build a computer lab. Second, a local supporter donated the funds for us to order a Prusa i3 Mk2 3D printer and a dozen spools of filament.