08 Jan STEAM in our Classrooms
One of the goals for our first year of the Lieberman Family STEAM Center is to incorporate STEAM learning activities into classroom curricula. We aspire for students to practice problem solving and design thinking within the context of their studies, so that they build 21st century thinking skills along with mastery of content and concepts. With guidance from Sarah Kay, our STEAM Coordinator, teachers throughout the school are working to enrich curricular units in ways that give students the opportunity to do just that.
In Kindergarten the students have been studying the properties of trees. This year they have extended one of their observations, that trees have roots which help them to stand firmly in place, to a design challenge. The students are designing and building structures of their own that can stand in place. They are applying their observations of trees and roots to their designs, creating models, testing them, and redesigning for improved results.
Third grade students are applying design thinking to their study of Native Americans. In the coming weeks they will be learning about different types of transportation that Native Americans used, including boats. Now the students are working to design and build their own boats. They are learning about scientific principles of density and buoyancy and applying the design process to their models as well.
Seventh grade students are just beginning their study of the physics of simple machines in their Science class. In the coming days they will work on designing a Rube Goldberg machine, incorporating many simple machines together to complete a task. While the Rube Goldberg projects have been a signature aspect of our 7th grade curriculum, the professional development afforded to us by the Lieberman Family STEAM Center has inspired new elements to the program including design thinking. Increasing students planning and design time is one key addition – students will assess their sketches and drafts for functionality issues. Another area of expansion is the inclusion of budgets – students will be responsible for managing a budget associated with their materials and building costs. These added elements are among the curricular enhancement that will push our students to think, plan, design, create and actualize a STEAM challenge.
Even as students are engaging in STEAM learning within the curriculum, there are also additional, co-curricular opportunities for students to explore their STEAM interests. On Tuesday I happened upon the elementary school chugim, clubs, and saw two very STEAMy activities. One group of students was using copper tape, lights, and batteries to design light up art. (Click here to see a video that inspired the activity) Another group of students was learning the basics of computer coding, using a website designed to help children start coding. The students in both groups were highly engaged, learning for learning’s sake, engrossed in activities that stretch their thinking and are fun.
It has only been a few months since we launched the Lieberman Family STEAM Center and it is already helping us to enrich our program in significant ways. We anticipate more and more STEAM enhancements in and out of the classrooms in the weeks and months ahead.
This week we are featuring work by some of our students in Kitah Aleph, Kitah Gimmel, Kitah Heh, and Kitah Zayin.
Kitah Aleph students wrote about what they did over winter break.
I went to the kees. I rod my bike. And went sweemming. I panted cocanuts. I watchd vidioe games. And we went on the doce.
(I went to the Keys. I rode my bike. And went swimming. I painted coconuts. I watched vidio games. And we went on the dock.)
I went to dribol on the Ests side for 3 day’s. I had gumee’s for snack.
(I went to Dribble [basketball camp] on the East Side for three days. I had gummies for snack.)
I wnt to The Hrlim GloB Trotrs. They are The sileeist BsKetbal Teem. They are retired basKetbal players.
(I went to the Harlem Globetrotters. They are the silliest basketball team. They are retired basketball players.)
WARNING: Spoilers for the new Star Wars movie.
I want to woch the Now starwars. honsooloe did. we wacht in thre de.
(I went to watch the new Star Wars. Han Solo died. We watched in 3-D.)
Kitah Gimmel has been working on non-fiction writing in preparation for writing our own non-fiction books. The samples below are draft paragraphs and are still works in progress.
There are many steps that you can do while ice skating. You can do step, step, glide which works for forwards and backwards. When you are ice skating backwards occasionally remember to look over your shoulder so that you don’t bump into anyone. You can also do jumps. If you want to do a jump, practice on land before trying on ice. Remember to practice your steps!
There are many games in amusement parks. Children can play racing games. Sometimes you don’t win. You can play games of chance. It is hard to win these games. You can play a bean bag toss. It’s fun to throw bean bags. It is fun to play games!
Here is a short introduction about the game Clue. Clue takes 15 to 45 minutes depending on how many people you are playing with. Clue is a games that uses strategy and detective work.
Clue is about a murder and you are basically a detective trying to figure out who did it, the weapon used and the room it was in. Enjoy learning more about Clue!
There are alot of qualities that tell you that a wild animal is wild. A wild animal never lives in a house. This may be because they are too big or too dangerous. A wild animal is sometimes friendly but you do not want to get close to it. Most animals in a zoo are wild animals.
There are many different types of singing. Karoke is one type of singing. Karoke is when you sing into a microphone and look at the words of the song. Acapella is another type of singing. Acapella is when a group of people sing but without any instruments, only with their mouths. Opera is another type of singing. Opera is when people sing in a very high pitched voice and sometimes it acts a story out.
These are some things you can build with legos. You can make boats and ships. You need a lot of legos to build a boat or ship. You can make a motorcycle. When you finish your lego motorcycle, it will look cool. You can make a car. Lego cars are easy to make.
Kitah Heh has been studying Shemot Gimmel, p’sukim aleph – vav. In this section God and Moshe are in dialogue. Students are working on a journal entry either from the perspective of God or Moshe.
Hello, my name is Moses. Today has been a crazy day. First, my father in law’s sheep that I was taking care of, ran away. They ran all the way up the mountain of G-d. Then, when I finally found the sheep, he was standing right next to a burning bush. But the thing is, anyone can set a bush on fire, but this bush was not really burning. It was on fire but not turning to ashes. Then, when I was about to turn away and forget about it, the bush talked to me. It said “Moses, Moses.” How did it know my name? It must be G-d. After that, I was forced to take my shoes off and talk to him. Face to face, or whatever s/he is. Before I knew it the words came out of my mouth. “Here I am.” Why would I say that? I didn’t even know it was G-d yet. Good thing it ended up being G-d in the end.
Hi. I’m Moses and I am awesome. That’s a fact, Not an opinion!! As an infant, I was supposed to be killed, but I survived. I grew up as the prince of Egypt, the most civilized country in the world. I also killed an egyptian. Can you imagine that? I killed a person! And I got the girls. Literally. I live with seven of them, but I got the prettiest one. Just yesterday, I was tending the sheep for my father-in-law, when the sheep started acting weirdly. They seemed to be leading me to a mountain (little did I know that was the mountain of G-d). I followed the sheep into a big cave in the middle of the mountain. There I saw a bush in the middle of the stone floor? I wondered to myself. How can a bush grow on a solid piece of stone? I was even more surprised when the bush lighted on fire without anyone going near it. “MOSES, MOSES,” a voice called from inside the bush, “Take off your shoes….”.
I am God a.k.a. creator of the world. I had just told Moses to take off his shoes. I started telling him. “ Moses, I am the God of your forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”. His reaction was very interesting, he hid his face. I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I might have just blown it. Wait, I forgot Sarah, Rifka, Rachel, and Leah. Well, I can’t change that now. Wait a second. Moses is responding.
Kitah Zayin students reflected on the content of the Holocaust unit by integrating reading from either a memoir, diary or historical fiction novel read in book club as well as content from history essays from the Ghettos.
Click here to read Mia A.’s reflection
Click here to read Ben Z.’s reflection
Click here to read Henry H.’s reflection
Click here to read Itamar E.’s reflection