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The STEM classroom and curriculum at WVCSD Elementary Schools

on February 27, 2019

Students work around a table and interact with teacherSTEM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, math) is offered to students in all grades at Park Avenue Elementary and Sanfordville Elementary Schools in dedicated STEM-classrooms with makerspace functionality.

Developing STEM-based skills necessitates spaces that allow students to tinker with tech and non-tech tools, explore and share ideas, solve problems, and make things.

Education’s growing focus on STEM instruction and skills reflects trends in technology and workforce development. The STEM push is also about innovative instruction around these core subjects, in the context of 21st-century learning, literacy and life skills.

Fourth-grade engineers at Park Avenue make geotechnical decisions

During a recent engineering unit at Park Avenue Elementary, fourth graders in Ms. Melican’s STEM classroom took on the role of geotechnical engineers. Setting their sights halfway around the globe where an ancient technology is still moving people and goods across perilous and remote landscapes, students were tasked with selecting the ideal location for a TarPul bridge over a river in Nepal.

Following the engineering design process, they analyzed types of soil and compaction needs, calculated building costs, evaluated erosion factors and the accessibility of the bridge to villagers, as well as the villagers’ expectations.    

“My favorite part was when we had to figure out which site to build on,” Ana Rukiqi said. “My favorite part was putting the weights in the cup to see how many people the TarPul could hold,” Charlie Bastone added.

Students were required to pursue their own, personal idea before sharing it with their group. After considering everyone’s proposals, the group had to agree on the best one before creating and testing it, with actual artifacts and materials.Two students work on their tarpul project

As they tested the strength of their TarPuls, students kept score using a rubric-like table and made geotechnical recommendations for improvements as needed. As any professional engineer would, they produced a final report recommending the best site for the TarPul, based on the established criteria.

“To me, STEM is a thing to cherish and a place to learn,” said Joey Dominguez.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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