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Massachusetts STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) Week has become an annual event across the state organized by the Executive Office of Education and the STEM Advisory Council in partnership with regional STEM Networks. The event is geared at generating interest in STEM education and employment opportunities through the tailoring of curriculum around experimentation, critical thinking, and collaboration to design solutions for problems requiring a STEM mindset. The George Keverian School partnered with i2 learning to create, in essence, STEM learning labs with hands-on curriculums developed by MIT and other organizations that allowed students to experience the problem solving and engineering design process that STEM centered career opportunities revolve around.
This year the teachers in Grade 5 and 7 at the Keverian School dedicated time during the summer and countless hours leading up to STEM Week to receive training on, and preparing to implement STEM curriculums and focused the entire week of October 21st through the 25th to exploring STEM with all of their students. The teachers at the Keverian School hope to create a culture of STEM learning through the middle school grades that generates interest in STEM related careers while also providing key Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math skills that help them to achieve academically.
Students in Grade 5 spent the week learning about the environment by trying to solve the “Mystery of Loon Lake.” While doing many engineering and design activities the students learned the importance of the balance of populations in ecosystems. Our students also learned about biotic and abiotic features of the ecosystem, how to engineer eco friendly dams and fishing devices, ecological pyramids, and producers and predators. When the “mystery” was solved, through exploration and investigation, the students designed a public service campaign to inform the public about the dangers of invasive species in an ecosystem.
Students in Grade 7 spent the week immersed in the world of physics, discovering how balance, forces, and energy are at work in kinetic sculptures. The course introduced a variety of concepts to create different types of moving art from mobiles to magnetic sculptures to marble runs. Students also work with gears and wind turbines. Along the way, students were introduced to kinetic sculpture artists including Alexander Calder and George Rhodes to see how they used physics in their work. Students ended their week with a final sculpture that incorporated several components of kinetic sculpture.
STEM Week at the Keverian ended with visits from invited guests that included representatives from i2 Learning and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, along with Senator Sal DiDomencio, State Representative Joe McGonagle, Superintendent Janice Gauthier, and Assistant Superintendent Kevin Shaw. The students were able to present their work to parents, invited guests, and sixth grade students during the STEM Week Showcase Open House on Friday, October 25.