Online learning recommenced across the district on Monday, Jan. 4. Visit PV Assist for online resources.
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:
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.