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STEM pattern

STEM pattern

St. John School


School Location:
Seattle, WA 

Sarah Gudaitis
Sven Tice
Kristine Kelley

School Website:


What is the focus of your STEM Blueprint work this year?
The focus of our STEM Impact Plan is to have all teachers create standards-based STEM experiences for students that are directly aligned to NGSS. In order to achieve this goal, we have begun to provide professional development experiences for all of our K-8 teachers. The STEM team also provides materials, resources, and ideas for our peers.

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

We are very excited to host our first Family STEM Night this March. Thanks to all of those who inspired us with brilliant ideas at the RISE summit! We chose the theme of STEM in the Great Outdoors. We will feature activities such as building a bird’s beak, creating an escape pod for climbers, and cleaning up after oil spills.

There has been almost universal, enthusiastic buy-in from classroom teachers, and we are excited to see so many teachers creating STEM experiences for our students. In first grade, students designed houses that would withstand wind. In third grade, students engineered solutions to everyday problems, such as pencils rolling off of desks, with their new knowledge of magnets. The fifth graders engineered a plan to organize 480 St. John students in the shape of a human flag. They surveyed classes, measured spaces, and calculated all the metrics, using technology to communicate their ideas. In middle school, eighth graders used data from Peter and Rosemary Grant’s study of finch populations in the Galapagos Islands to create conceptual models that could explain those data; seventh graders conducted a series of experiments in which they predicted the gravitational acceleration of dropped objects; and soon, sixth graders will design and build models of buildings that incorporate real-world earthquake resistant design features.

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

We launched our school’s blueprint at a faculty meeting by engaging the entire staff in a STEM activity. The general consensus was that every meeting should start that way! Our faculty was already interested in implementing the STEM disciplines in a more thoughtful way, and they gladly rose to the challenge. Our ability to provide the resources needed to support our teachers was met with enthusiasm. Our students are eager to participate in STEM experiences because of the hands-on activities, focus on designing solutions to real world problems, and integrated application of skills and content. Parents, excited about their child’s enthusiasm for STEM, have offered their support in the classroom and for our upcoming Family STEM Night.