S.T.E.M. with Mrs. Wheeler

S.T.E.M. with Mrs. Wheeler and Friends
Posted on 10/21/2018
STEM

At the beginning of the year, Principal Tom Miller emphasized Brooks-Quinn-Jones Elementary students are the school’s customers. That got Reading Specialist Jill Wheeler thinking about those students who do what they’re supposed to do, make good grades but aren’t necessarily considered “GT.” How could those students be challenged? And Wheeler thought about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Challenges.

After meeting with the campus intervention team, Fridays were selected to offer additional STEM enrichment. After looking over last year’s STAAR scores, students scoring in the 5th quintile were selected.

During scheduled intervention time, these students are pulled for a STEM Challenge. The challenges are 30 minutes in length.

The first challenge was to create a geodesic dome using gumdrops and toothpicks. Parents were asked to donate supplies, and the response was amazing, Wheeler said.

The students were excited with the first challenge and left hungry for more. The ticket to get back in the next challenge was completing a reflective lab sheet, and 100 percent of the approximately 50 fourth- and fifth-graders turned it in by deadline.

Now other students are wanting in on the challenge action, and Wheeler is trying to figure out how to add them.

“The beauty of the STEM Challenges is that often times the hero, the one who figures it out first or figures out ‘the way’ is not a typical ‘book smart’ student,” Wheeler said. “I think if you asked students they’d tell you the geodesic domes and straw rockets were their favorite so far. Our classroom hasn’t quite recovered from all of the natural materials brought in from the birds nest challenge.

The next challenge comes Friday, Oct. 26 and is titled “What is the biggest pumpkin your group can create from a six foot sheet of orange bulletin board paper?”

 Gumdrops and Toothpicks  Bird Nest      Rockets! 

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