STEM Turns to STEAM at GEMS

Target 1  Student Centered Learning- Students will engage in personalized learning involving collaborative inquiry, problem solving, and creative learning opportunities.

Action Step – Teachers will highlight, create and model innovative learning opportunities that promote collaborative inquiry, problem solving, and creativity for students.

Indicator of Success -Students and staff will apply existing knowledge to create original works as a means of personal or group expression.

 

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The Georgia Elementary School has modified and enhanced its STEM initiative by incorporating a program that reaches beyond traditional science instruction. During this school year, the program will include first and second graders in addition to embedding the arts during key instructional time.

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Research states that young students are motivated and can capitalize on early exposure and experiences. Developmentally appropriate engagement with quality experiences help children understand the world around them and provides a learning opportunity to organize thoughts, apply and test ideas, and develop further understanding of science.

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Through the engineering design process students Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve, and Ask questions to solve problems through inquiry based activities. In alignment with NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards), children in earlier grades are expected to demonstrate proficiency in planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, constructing explanations and designing solutions, and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. Students are expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of core ideas.

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The following is a challenge that first graders had to solve through this process:

“To construct a path that will make a marble go the slowest down an incline.”

Students used trial and error to make adjustments to reach the challenge. Here are a sampling of their discussions:

  • “I think the curvier the better”
  • “zig-zags, curves, and breaks  will make it go very slow”
  • “The sticks will keep the marble from jumping the track”
  • “I have a plan!!, I have a plan!! Let’s go back and fix it”
  • “If we watch other people’s experiments we can get new ideas”

photo 3 (12)STEM Coach JoAnn Harvey and Art Teacher Dorsey Hogg collaborate, plan, and deliver instruction together to provide learning opportunities that cut across curricular content areas. Infusing Art into STEM produces STEAM which provides an enhanced opportunity for creativity and problem solving. Follow up then occurs, both in the classroom and art room, for a greater balance of embedded instruction throughout the entire school day.

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