STEM education at the elementary level
STEM education at the elementary level is all about exposure and sparking an interest in STEM that will encourage our students to pursue deeper inquiries in the upper grades and beyond.
STEM embedded experiences for elementary students may include:
Robotics and Coding: These robots introduce the fundamentals necessary for understanding coding and it’s implications in today’s technical society.
- K-2 Bee Bots –Students learn that the robots can only do what the student specifically programs it to do. Bee Bots have simplistic directional coding that can support math, science, ELA or social studies curriculums.
Example: Students read a story and use the robot to show their understanding of the order of important events in the story.
- 3-4 LEGO Robotics – Students build LEGO models and use “block coding” to control things such as movement and sounds made by these models. Again, these bots can support all content areas.
Example: Student solve math word problems embedded in a story to find the correct code to make their robot “act out” events in a story. Students must then write and ending to the story that includes math word problems whose answers will be the code needed to make their bots actions match the story.
- 5-6 Sphero Bots – Students do more advanced block coding using blue-tooth enabled tablets to control robots.
Example: In an investigation of motion and force, students determine if different factors (mass, friction, gravity) impact how far the robot can roll.
Engineering Challenges: As we begin to transition to our new science standards, engineering will become a major focus for instruction. We are happy to say that students are already engaged in solving engineering problems in the classroom. Some examples are described below:
K – Students learn about being “green” by determining the most environmentally friendly path for a delivery truck to take in a fictional community.
1 – Students learn about forces by experimenting with gravity and mass in order to help the Three Little Pigs use a sled to get away from the Big Bad Wolf.
2 – Students learn about the properties of materials as they work to design a mat for their fictional puppy to wipe his/her paws off after playing outside in the rain.
3 – Students learn about the uses of magnets as the design a fish tank cleaning tool.
4 – Students work as environmental engineers to design a tool to help clean up an oil spill.
5 –Students work as aerospace engineers to design a parachute that will work on a different planet.
6 – Students work as biomedical engineers to design a knee brace for an injured friend.