About our S.T.E.M. Program:
STEM education at Whispering Wind Academy consists of students in grades K through 6 experiencing STEM not only in their classrooms but they additionally attend a specialized STEM Lab environment. The STEM Lab, utilizing NGSS framework, is a project/problem-based program that is a hands-on integration of teaching science, technology, engineering, and math. Examples of some of the experiences:
- K- Concepts of Magnetism, Classroom connections to Letter learning (Can you think of a better way to write letter learning?), Engineering in relation to Fairy Tale stories
- 1st- Engineering straw bridges to withstand weight, engineering wood houses to withstand the wind and experimentation with Light and Color
- 2nd- Engineering straw bridges to withstand weight, engineering wood houses to withstand the wind, Concepts of Sink and Float and engineering of the circulatory system
- 3rd- Development and Construction of an electrical cardboard guitar and implementing our own variable tested plant experiment
- 4th- Engineering of Hydraulically Powered Drawbridges and Electricity and Engineering of Lighthouses, Cardboard dollhouses or circuit board games.
- 5th- Engineering of wooden lamp clocks, discussion of solar energy, Concepts of Simple Machines
- 6th- Mummification of tomatoes, developing and constructing wooden gumball machines, paper roller coasters and Genotype and Phenotype of Wisconsin Fast growing plants.
Our STEM sponsor:
Meet Ms. Suri
My name is Jessica Suri and I’m the new STEM teacher at Whispering Wind Academy. I have a Masters degree in Elementary Education and a certification in High Ability Education. This is my sixth year teaching in a public school setting. Before taking this position I mainly taught intermediate students (4th through 6th grade). I am a life long learner with a passion for science and social studies. I have attended many institutes and workshops in order to further my knowledge and educational background. Some of the workshops I attended were an archeological dig in Ohio, a behind the scenes zoo workshop at the Indianapolis Zoo, an energy program at PURDUE University and a workshop at the Smithsonian Art Museum.
This year in STEM we are going to be taking two directions. First of all, I want to thoroughly teach students what STEM means and the different topics within each letter (S-T-E-M). In first and second grade we’re focusing on lab tools; their scientific names, what they’re used for and how to use them appropriately. I think these are valuable skills that any scientist needs to know. Also, it gives the students ownership in the classroom. They don’t just come to build but they come to learn, observe and experiment. My upper grades will be actively using these tools on a daily basis. Right now all intermediate grades, 4th through 6th are focusing on completing higher-level tasks involving measurement, circuitry, force, simple machine mechanics and appropriate usage of lab tools.
The second direction we’ll be taking this year focuses on being curious and open to exploring new, and difficult, tasks. My primary students have already problem solved in order to create bridges and houses to withstand weight and wind. In the upcoming months, 2nd grade will learn and explore the concepts of density and buoyancy. My intermediate students will look at concepts such as friction, force, electricity, energy efficiency, etc.
Even though technology plays an integral role in our program, I teach students to think about the true definition of technology “an invention that is designed to make something easier or better.” This is the definition I discuss, all year long, as we engineer, experiment, code, design and manipulate materials.