Thanks to a combination of our awesomely innovative administration and the generosity of our
Foundation, Mt. Bethel is proud to boast TWO fully functioning STEM Labs on our campus for the 2017-2018 school year. Having two [incredibly well outfitted] labs, as well as two highly trained STEM educators, expands our ability to offer our students the highest quality 21st century education, beginning with the simple fact that they will spend twice as much time in a STEM lab (approximately 44 rotations vs. 22) compared to the 16-17 school year.
What does this look like day to day? Each STEM teacher meets with 6 classes per day (K-5) and leads the children through activities, lessons, experiments and challenges that foster what we call “STEM thinking.” This type of thinking encourages being a problem solver above all else. It also promotes the idea that learning and knowledge is not “fixed,” but that we are capable of growing our minds through practice and perseverance (i.e. Growth Mindset).
Our STEM teachers seek to cultivate well-rounded 21st century learners and therefore strive to find a balance between not only the 4 content areas of STEM, but between science experiments/investigations, technology skills (using both laptops and iPads), engineering challenges, robotics, coding and even “purposeful play” to promote STEM thinking. Wherever possible, ties are made to the real world: careers in STEM, problems we face that may be helped with STEM thinking, how to transition from being consumers to innovators of STEM, etc.
Here are some highlights of the awesomely innovative STEM learning our Mt. Bethel Buccaneers have experienced in our short time together thus far:
· To kick off the year, every grade level participated in several super fun design challenges back to back to familiarize ourselves with the steps of the Engineering Design Process as well as STEM lab procedures and expectations. Those challenges included Super Summer STEM and STEM Olympics Challenges.
· Additionally, each grade level has already had at least one lesson using laptops to practice skills including: mouse skills, internet access and safety, logging in and out, word processing (2nd and 5th) and using digital graphic organizers (3rd and 4th).
o Engineering LEGO Animal Models
o Penguin Daddy Egg Challenge
o Flounder Camouflage Challenge
o Coding with Beebots (helping baby animals find their parents)
· First Grade
o Programming Beebots to add and subtract
o Engineering LEGO rain shelters for animals
o Magnet vocabulary fishing
o Engineering Magnet Cars
· Second Grade
o The Great Ice Melt Challenge
o Skydiving/Air Resistance Challenge
o Unplugged Coding with Matchbox Cars
o Coding with Cubetto Robots
· Third Grade
o Virtual Dino Dig
o Fossil Formation Fortune Teller Challenge
o Dino Skeleton Challenge
o Coding with SPRK+ Robots
· Fourth Grade
o Incredible Journey Water Cycle Investigation
o Coding with Ozobots
o Engineering Water Cycle Models
· Fifth Grade
o Pangaea Puzzles
o World’s Deadliest Volcano Investigation
o Save LA Earthquake Challenge
o Engineering Dams Challenge
o Coding with Sphero SPRK+ Robots