Current Projects: To enhance STEM offerings at the Elementary level each grade will have a unit that is structured around the Environmental Issue Investigation model. One of the key components is students taking action after they have investigated the issue.
- In kindergarten, students investigate living things, specifically the monarch butterfly. Students collect eggs and caterpillars from nurseries installed on their school grounds. A common action is to plant/maintain milkweed in their garden to help the monarch population. Why is this an issue?
- In grade three, students will investigate composting as a means of reusing in a unit titled "The Story of Stuff" (Under Construction)
- In grade four students investigate the impact of parking lots and paved areas on the environment. Students examine the role of the parking lot primarily in terms of water movement. Students will assist in the design and maintenance of a Rain Garden to assist in the absorption of water. Lessons will involve the concepts of area and perimeter, and use computer simulations to map the area and spacing for the native plants. Items collected from parking lot will be used as indicators of chemical, physical, and biological activity directly related to parking lot. . What are rain gardens?
- In grade five students investigate the the biodiversity of bird populations on their school grounds. Students take action to enhance their school grounds to meet needs of birds in relations ships to habitiat, food, and/or water. The title of the unit is "Unless" as their is a literary connection the book "The Lorax" by Dr. Suess.
To enhance STEM offerings at the Elementary grades one through four have a STEM unit that follow a problem based model and include engineering. Examples of these units are:
- Grade One "Best of Bugs" : After learning that a foreign plant will not flower because there are no insects to pollinate it, students become an engineer to help Marianna solve her problem. For the design challenge students design and improve hand pollinators to work with different model flowers.
- Grade Two "A Sticky Situation" : After learning that a rabbit is destroying Yi Min's garden students embark on a study of Earth Materials that could create a wall to protect the garden. Students design a mortar and wall structure and then create tests to improve their design and compare the strength of their structures
- Grade Three "A Work in Process" : In the classroom, students tackle the challenge of creating the way to improve an “okay” play dough recipe. On the way, they explore the properties of a good dough and compare their own sample to it. Then they improve a standard process for mixing the ingredients--to ensure that it creates a just-right dough. Along they way, they discover that the process really can make the difference between a goopy blob and super sculpting medium.
- Grade Four "An Alrming Idea" : Students embark the study of electrical circuits that can solve problems. Stedents then design, create, and improve their own alarm circuits and switches to remind them when it is time to do an important chore.
- Grade Five "Solid as a Rock" A pilot unit has been selected that relates the properties of rocks and minerals to replicate an artifact.