Research Question: What is STEM in our school?
Brookwood Pre-Kindergarteners are learning the basics of what STEM means, and how it relates to the world around them (namely the school community). After acclimating to school, students are learning what it means to be a Scientist. They are learning what it means to observe the world and people around us; what it means to predict what will happen in an experiment or even in a story! Our main focus for observation will be the courtyard in the heart of the school. For Technology, we will teach our students how to take videos on the Seesaw app that we use to communicate with their parents and share photos of what we’re learning. The students will take videos of all different types of their learning, as well as videoing what their friends have learned. For example, the students could video their friends noticing what changes are happening in the weather around them, either at home or outside in the courtyard. These changes in weather and other events (such as visiting STEM students or other scientists in the community) will be recorded in their STEM journals with drawings and writings (with dictations from teachers). For Engineering, we will be teaching the children how to think like an Engineer and use the Engineering process in their constructing- 1. Think: What is the problem? 2. Create- build a plan and construct. 3. Share- share your results with others! After learning how to engineer and using it in their constructions, students could use their technology to record videos of students using the Engineering process, and what their results were. For Math, we use mathematical concepts in our every day learning. Our students are counting the days of the month; counting to see how many students aren’t here for the day; finding and identifying shapes in our environment; using tools of measurement to weigh, length or height; or creating patterns with different objects in the classroom. In the Fall, they will begin looking at the Courtyard and learning what is out there, as well as observing what might need to be done. They will help with upkeep of the courtyard- raking leaves in the Fall, laying pine straw in the Winter, planting seeds in the Spring in the greenhouse to transition to the courtyard to grow over the Summer. They will use journals to record date of the weather changes in the courtyard, as well as record data on what we learn from grade levels. In the Spring, they will also record a video of what they have done with STEM, and what they have learned.
Use of Data Collection: Students will record STEM in journals and in video format as we learn more about it through our school including:
- weather changes in the courtyard
- concepts they are learning throughout the classroom through themes- ex. How Things Move, Shadows and Reflections, Fairy Tales, etc.
- visits from older STEM students and local scientists
- blueprints of anything we can construct to help the courtyard and/ or school
Partners: Carmen Flammini (STEM Teacher), Renee Mahan (Art Teacher), Engineering Teacher, Local Scientists, and older STEM students throughout our school.
Civic Contributions to our Community: Students and Teachers will be working together to better different parts of the school. The first project will be our own courtyard, as we work to get it back to working order for all students to make use of it for further STEM research and study.
Integration of Core Curriculum with Research: Students transfer what they are learning from their STEM journals, as well as what they will learn through their constructing, videoing, and other experiences working in the courtyard.
- Students are learning key vocabulary from STEM experiences that they will use as they will use as they move from grade level to grade level. Ex.- experiment, observe, estimate, record, collect data, senses
- Students are creating experience portfolios, and learning how to record data about what they are learning about and what they observe (as well as learning how to notice details around them).
- Videos showing what they are learning throughout exploring the courtyard, as well as what is happening in the classroom. This will include with partners coming into the classroom and talking about STEM through their personal lenses.
- They will be exploring other areas in their personal environments- around their homes, on the way to and from school, etc. and will ultimately share with other students about what they observe and how others affect their environment.