STEM Experiences 1.11
1.11 - Students are supported in their STEM learning through adult-world connections and extended day opportunities.
Providing ongoing and multiple extended day opportunities and adult-world connections for students through clubs, competitions, and STEM excursions is a strength for Barbara Morgan STEM Academy. Even though our K-5 students are not at an age where they can be participating in formal programs of mentorship, apprenticeship, internships, research or job shadowing, our students are exposed to each of these areas and participate in them to the fullest extent that their age allows. All of our students are exposed to job and career opportunities through guest speakers, career reports, career interest inventories, and interactions with industry experts in our afterschool clubs.
Barbara Morgan STEM Academy offers multiple, ongoing, extended day opportunities and adult-world connections for students through clubs, competitions, and STEM experiences. BMSA has a student Technology Club, Video News Team, Coder's Club, Girls on the Run group, Chess Club, STEM Racing Club, Engineering Club, and Robotics Club. Students are supported in each club through adult mentors, indlucing many who work in STEM fields.
Extended Opportunities at Barbara Morgan STEM Academy
Coder's Club is open to all students Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. All students work through courses on Code.org. In addition, students work in small break-out groups to learn more about entry-level robotics, and advanced applications of coding. Upper grade students work on Raspberry Pi, HTML/CSS, Makey Makey, Ozobots, Dash & Dot robots, EV3 Robots, Puzzlets, and Osmo Coding. Volunteers from the industry and parents who work in occupations utilizing coding or STEM skills work with our 85 students weekly. BMSA also partners with Meridian Technical Charter High School to provide teen mentors and leaders for our students during Coder's Club. A group of BMSA students also works together to present their learning at local technology conferences throughout the school year. Students demonstrate things such as: Screen-casting using Educreations, Digital STEM notebooks with Book Creator, Math Graphs using Teaching Graphs, Coding with Osmo, Raspberry Pi, Programming Robots such as Dash & Dot, Using Puzzlets and Ozobots with primary aged students, and using Green-screening and Stop-Motion animation in ELA and Math.
Technology Club and Video News Team
Tech Club is an opportunity for 4th and 5th grade students to expand their technology skills, assist in the management of devices in the school, and develop professional skills. Students apply to be in the club that meets once a week. During club time, students refill all copiers and printers in the building, check in with each classroom teacher for technology needs, perform maintenance and installation tasks, and rectify "Help Desk Tickets." The second half of Tech Club students work on improving their skills with individual programs and apps. Students work through skills checklists for different programs and opportunities, and then check off with a supervising teacher. When they have demonstrated mastery of the skills, they earn a certificate and a badge for their lanyards. Students are able to certify and badge in more than a dozen areas.
Video News Team is also an opportunity for 4th and 5th grade students. Our Video News Team meets with teachers and students to find stories to share with the entire school. They interview individuals, write scripts, film segments, utilize green-screen technologies, and produce the final video to share with the school.
K-3 Engineering Club
Kindergarten through Third Grade students are invited to participate in our afterschool Engineering Club. More than 50 students are involved in this club where they explore many elements of the Engineering Design process. Adult volunteers assist students in challenges such as building a paper roller coaster, making a plane fly the farthest distance, and building bridges. This club meets twice a month after school. The first meeting each month, students worked on engineering projects following a set of directions. At the end of the meeting, students shared out about what worked well, and what did not. They then made a plan for how to redesign their project at the next meeting. For the final meeting of the month, students then had time to make changes, redesign and add their own creativity to their projects before sharing our again. Some of the projects we worked on over the last 2 years were:
- Building a Thanksgiving table to support a dinner- students used newspaper and masking tape to build a structurally sound table, and then tested it's ability to support Thanksgiving food items with weights.
- Keva Plank Towers- Students worked in groups to see who could build the tallest tower with Keva planks.
- Leprechaun traps- Students used items like Styrofoam cups, paper, pipe cleaners, and saran wrap to create a trap for a leprechaun.
- Circuit Boards- Students worked in groups to create different circuits on their circuit boards.
- Styrofoam Boats- Students built boats using Styrofoam trays and paper and then tested them down a "river" to see if they survived a journey.
- Birdhouses- Thanks to a grant, students built wood bird houses. This activity included over 20 parent volunteers.
- Gingerbread Houses- Students created gingerbread houses using graham crackers and frosting and worked to see what bases would make the house stay up.
- Paper Airplanes- Students created different styles of paper airplanes and then tested them to see how far they could go. They added paperclips as weights to see the effect that had on the flight pattern.
Robotics club is a BMSA after-school program for 4th and 5th graders that are interested in coding, engineering and robotics. The club forms teams to compete in the First Lego League's robotics tournaments that are held around the valley. The tournaments require teams to work together to solve a real-world problem, present it to professionals, and program Lego robots to successfully complete themed missions. The robotics part of the competition involves designing and programming Lego Mindstorms robots to complete tasks. The students work out solutions to various problems, and then meet for regional tournaments to share their knowledge, compare ideas, and display their robots. The club's motto is, "Be gracious and professional while having fun."
Special Interests Clubs
BMSA also offers opportunities to meet the needs of special interests of students. Chess Club and Girls on the Run are groups that are offered weekly for interested students. STEM Racing is an additional club that meets seasonally, where students can explore STEM learning through learning the mechanical parts of a race car. Camp Invention is a paid camp that is offered during the Summer. Students who are interested in writing, can meet each week with a staff member for Writing Club. Several of our male staff members mentor groups of third through fifth grade boys in a Guys in Ties club. Students can also apply to participate in our Student Leadership Team, where they assist our principal in giving school tours, and lead portions of our school assemblies.
BMSA also has former students that return to volunteer and help in many of the afterschool clubs. Students from Meridian Technical Charter High School also support our extended day opportunities. BMSA has a goal to improve the participation of girls in its 4th and 5th grade Robotics Club. We are currently encouraging girls to learn about EV3 while in 3rd Grade through Coder’s Club, and we are looking into the possibility of creating an all girls team within Robotics Club.