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Sunday, September 24, 2017

17-18 Week 2

Our second week in STEM lab was sensational! It was super short – students were off on Friday and we held our 6th year of No Place For Hate kickoff event on Thursday – but we made every minute count!   The lab hosted:
Ms. Guerrero’s Pre-K
Ms. Colmenero’s Kindergarten
Ms. 1st grade
Ms. 2nd grade
Ms. 3rd grade
Ms. 4th grade
Ms. 5th grade

Our new set of Sunflower Stars were delighted to see Ms. Sato’s seeds sprouting and were extra eager to plant their own! They watched Peep and the Big Wide World: Peep Plants a Seed and discussed how to plant and care for our seeds. We made paper plate sunflowers and also torn paper collage sunflowers. We learned about the parts of a plant and its life cycle from Annie and Moby and planted our sprouts in the sunflower beds!
Ms. Colmenero’s Green Heroes talked about how to earn their capes! These are some of our Eco-Schools USA Litter Less ambassadors. They worked on their Green Hero song and quickly mastered their “parts of a computer” vocabulary and got acquainted with their Code.org coding course.
Our second grade Green Hero Recycling Team got started this week! They made their recycled material signs to remind each hallway of their pick-up day and what items can and cannot be recycled. The new Code.org course is a huge hit with this group! They designed a robot personal assistant specially adapted to perform certain jobs they don’t want to do for themselves.

3rd  – 5th grade made their Idea Portraits, and we discussed how STEM lab can help them work on some of their thousands of amazing ideas! They made excellent progress in the Code.org course and really like the new course organization and activities..

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Piney Point STEM lab 17-18 week 1

It was a fantastic, albeit late, start to the school year! The STEM lab played host to:
Ms. Sato’s Pre-K
Ms. DiPersio’s 1st grade
Mr. Arzola’s 2nd grade
Ms. Hatchell’s 3rd grade
Ms. Giron’s 4th grade
Ms. Mulry’s 5th grade


STEMlab wk1 from Kimberly Boyce-Quentin on Vimeo.

We held grade level assemblies first day to share the exciting news about our status as an Arts Access Initiative Creative Focus School, introduce our many new Eco-School’s initiatives, and kick-off Marathon Kids.
Our first programming unit is based on the new courses designed by Code.org. These feature old favorite characters such as the Angry Birds and introduce popular puzzles with Rey and BB-8 from Star Wars in leveled sections tailored specifically to pose appropriate challenges for each grade. 1st through 5th grade really enjoyed the new activities and I was thrilled with the problem solving collaboration taking place with every group!
We turned from STEM to STEAM with the addition of an art project for everyone! Our focus story for this cycle is the charming What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada. 1st and 2nd grade designed their own robot assistant with an eye to passing on certain tasks – most commonly doing homework! Other popular options were robots that cleaned bedrooms, made and served snacks, and played games. 3rd – 5th grade created Idea Portraits. This idea came from a lesson designed by Beverly Blackmon. Students created a self-portrait and then illustrated their ideas as pouring out of their heads. They did an amazing job as you can see from the gallery in the video!
3rd-5th closed out the week with a BreakOUT. These are like an escape room in a box – teams work together to solve a series of challenges. Each solution provides the combination of a different lock. If every group solves their puzzle they can open the box and get their celebration cards. All three grades solved problems based on the quipu – an ancient Incan tool for recording and collecting data. All three classes beat the clock and a complex series of mathematical and reading challenges to open the box!

This is the first year that Pre-K has come to the STEM lab! Their first unit is exploring their campus Eco-Schools role – Sunflower Stars! They learned about the life cycle of a plant with Peep and also Annie and Moby from BrainPOP Jr., then acted out the process, made paper plate sunflowers, and planted their own sunflowers from seeds harvested by last year’s kinder scholars from our own sunflower garden! They will water them and observe them daily to check for growth!