STEM In Action

Pine Street School

Editor’s Note: To read our feature on STEM in the classroom, click HERE!

“At BASIS Independent Brooklyn, we bring our STEM program to life through our Engineering & Technology courses. Grades K-4 take the course to get introduced to engineering ideologies and techniques. Students develop problem-solving and logic skills through unique and meaningful projects. The students here at BASIS Independent learn how engineers use math, science, and technology to solve real world problems. In one of our grade 2 classes, we used the Engineering Design Process to figure out how to make a “Pom Pom Launcher” using just the materials provided to them in a Mystery Bag. Together we discussed what our problem or goal was. We planned and drew out what we wanted to build. After making a prototype and testing it out, the students had to carefully analyze how they could better redesign their launchers. The students came up with such innovative launchers and really gained an understanding of the design process through the project.” –Alexandria Delaney, Engineering Teaching Fellow, BASIS Independent Brooklyn 

“At the British International School of New York, one example of how STEM is implemented is through the Middle School STEM Fair. Students set out to solve real-world problems, big and small, using Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Passion is palpable as students tap into their inner creativity, using interdisciplinary skills. Top inquiries have included designing a school-based smartphone app, examining the effect of multiple building designs during earthquakes, the effect of using SODIS on Manhattan’s East River, and what simple and mechanical invention is most effective in moving itself up a string? Top inquiries complete a short film to enter international competitions such as COBIS (Council of British International Schools) and have been nominated for and won Best Biology (nomination 2015), Best Physics (nomination 2014) and Best Scientific Investigation (winner 2014).” –Ed Hill, Manager of Admissions and Outreach, the British International School

Dwight School second graders explored the concept of impact through a multidisciplinary (STEAM) inquiry. The context was how natural forces change the earth. Students studied how different landforms are created or shaped by earthquakes, floods, etc. In Dwight’s tradition of personalized learning, students selected a natural force to research based on their individual interests and demonstrated the force’s impact through art. Students created Claymation videos illustrating the ‘before and after’ of volcanoes, tornadoes, hurricanes, landslides, and so on, which they filmed on their iPads. Together, they wrote and filmed ‘live’ news reports of these forces in action using a green screen. This type of cross-disciplinary inquiry is a common element in Dwight’s International Baccalaureate curriculum. Concepts guide the inquiry, and students make connections across subject areas, deepening their learning.” -Chris Beddows, IB Primary Years Program Coordinator/Fourth Grade Teacher, Dwight School

“At the Hewitt School, we seek to provide opportunities for our Upper School girls to inspire our Lower School girls, especially in technology. To that end, our EdTech department works to produce several collaborative projects a year to get our different grade levels working together. For example, Upper and Middle School girls will code iPad apps to teach Kindergarten girls symmetry and then, side by side with the classroom teachers, work with the younger girls in using the apps that they have created. In another project underway this year, Upper School students are collaborating with our younger girls in designing an interactive toy, designed to their specifications, with a final product realized via 3D printer. Through EdTech collaboration, our older girls put design thinking in praxis, using code and collaboration to realize the vision of their younger student-partners. The Lower School students develop confidence through connection, as they work with Upper School role models who encourage them to act on their creativity and assist them in bringing their ideas to life.” –Amy Jablonski, Director of Admissions, the Hewitt School

Léman Manhattan

“Teaching science to grades K-4 at Léman Manhattan has afforded me the opportunity to enhance the level of academia in my students using STEM creativity. The most apparent results come from the work they have done using a program called Tinkercad and our 3D printer. Tinkercad allows them to easily build and manipulate while learning how to design on a computer in three dimensions. My grade 4 students do a modern day ‘cargo boat’ challenge, where they create and test a boat that will hold the greatest amount of pennies in our pool. The 3rd-graders research their favorite NYC skyscraper and design a 3D printed replica. Afterwards, we use Google Maps to find the building’s location and make our own floor map of Manhattan. The ability to transform their brilliant ideas into a real object is the ultimate reward of their hard work.” –Paul Schmitz, Lower School Science Teacher, Léman Manhattan

“At Metropolitan Montessori School (MMS), STEAM (STEM plus arts) is an integral component in teaching critical thinking, resilience, collaboration, and passion, which are core values in our elementary program. The 5th grade is studying a burgeoning field of science: Microbes. Students were inspired by Dr. Christopher Mason from Weill Cornell Medical Center, the principle investigator of the pathoMAP project, which swabbed and tracked microbes in the NYC subway system. MMS students swabbed multiple surfaces of the school and tested bacteria samples. Throughout this experiment, students will be drawing specimens, comparing size and shape, and discussing how and why bacteria growth differs amongst various surfaces. In a control experiment, they will then test the efficacy of antibacterial agents in preventing bacteria growth. Next, students will connect their research and hands-on experiments with art and engineering. Students will choose a favorite microbe and design and build a Bacteria Bot with a basic motor. Finally, students will meet Dr. Mason and discuss the hard data and statistics of his research, as well as their own.” –Sheryl van der Hilst, Director of Communications & Christie Ann Reynolds, Upper Elementary Science Teacher, Metropolitan Montessori School

The Hewitt School
The Hewitt School

“At Pine Street School, our 2nd and 3rd grade students are working on a [six-week] IB PYP unit of inquiry under the theme ‘Sharing the Planet…’ They are currently considering sustainable solutions for sourcing, providing, and distributing power in communities using the natural resources most readily available to them. They are exploring solar, wave, and wind power… On one of their daily visits to our Design Technology Lab, they made a model of one particular community about which they have been learning. Familiarizing themselves with the basics of architecture and engineering, they created a ‘map’ of the community in physical form. They then used littleBits circuitry tools to design efficient and effective power-sharing grids for traditional sources of electricity, based on their acquired knowledge of how electrical grids work.” –Eileen Baker, Director, Pine Street School

“The Solomon Schechter School of Westchester is home to a new, cutting-edge facility that has taken the school’s engineering and entrepreneurship program to a whole new level. The Idea Incubator, also known as the Inc, occupies a redesigned space at Schechter’s Upper School where students conceive of, collaborate on, and prototype their technological ideas. Ultimately serving as a workshop for STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics), the Inc provides a setting and the tools for cultivating student innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. When problems are posed in concrete situations, as they are in the Inc, students take more responsibility for their learning.” –Maria Creanza, Communications Associate, Solomon Schechter School of Westchester