• Our STEM Exploration

    Posted by Maureen Schoenberger on 6/12/2014

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  • Lesson 2: Pushes and Pulls

    Posted by Maureen Schoenberger on 3/27/2014
    The students are starting lesson 2 of our STEM unit which asks the students, "What are some of the foces that act on structures and how do civil engineers design structures that can withstand these forces? 

    To start the lesson, the kids will watch this video that will show that civil engineers help design all kinds of structures, not just bridges. From this video we will meet several engineers and learn more about their jobs!

    Next, the students will practice thinking like civil engineers as they examine how pushes and pulls affect some different structures. Using an index card the students will be challenged to make an index card stand up on its own without any hands.  Finally, we will observe the effects of force on two different structures.
    Push and Pull Websites:
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  • Lesson 1: Javier Builds a Bridge

    Posted by Maureen Schoenberger on 1/30/2014
    javier builds a bridge
    In this lesson, students listen to the story Javier Builds a Bridge, which follows the adventures of Javier and his younger stepsister, Luisa. After the two take an unfortunate tumble off the wobbly bridge leading to Javier's fort,  Javier comes up with an idea for a new bridge.  The story introduces three different bridge types (beam, arch, and suspension).
    For fun:
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  • What is Engineering?

    Posted by Maureen Schoenberger on 1/16/2014

    The first graders learned first hand what the "E" in STEM stands for by watching the video above and by becoming engineers themeselves. As a class we discussed the Engineering Design Process and then put it into practice with the Tower Power challenge.
    design challenge
    First, our students were introduced to the problem: raising up a fictional alligator statue to the height of 10 inches.  Then they asked such questions as, What materials can we use? How much time will we have? Can it be over 10 inches? 
    In their groups,  the students started to share ideas and plan out what each person would do and then the creating began.  Using only 20 paper cups, 12 inches of tape, 2 sheets of construction paper, scissors and a ruler the students worked really hard to complete the challenge. While in the midst of the building, many cups fell and the students had to figure out another way to make their structures stand.  We learned that  we can learn as much from the structures that didn't work as the structures that did work. The students learned to communicate and collaborate with their team, think crictically and problem solve, and the result was some truely creative structures!

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  • The "T" in Stem: Technology in a Bag

    Posted by Maureen Schoenberger on 12/17/2013
    The first lesson in the first grade STEM unit is to clarify the definition of technology. The students were given the "pre-assessment" below. As expected, most of the students circled the mp3 Player, the electric keyboard, cell phone, game controller, and laptop as examples of technology. In addition, the classes were pretty split on whether lightning was a technology. As a class, they came up with this definition of technolgy: "Anything that needs electricity or batteries to work."  Boy, were they in for a surprise!
    what is technology
    The second part of the lesson has the students in groups and opening bags filled with examples of technology.  We had some pretty unhappy students when they learned that they got a rubber band instead of an iPad!  The students were confused and kept asking how a paper clip, a pen, an eraser, and so on were technology.  Where were the wires and cords? These things don't have batteries!  But as the kids came up to tell us about their objects and how they solved some of our everyday problems, they learned what all the objects had in common: they were human made.  So from the lesson we learned the true definition of Technology: "Any human-made object, system or process that is used to solve a problem."  Our next lesson we will learn about the creators of these objects!
    toothbrush   What? A toothbrush?
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  • Why STEM?

    Posted by Maureen Schoenberger on 11/14/2013 1:00:00 PM

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  • Welcome, 1st Graders!!

    Posted by Maureen Schoenberger on 11/14/2013

    engineering is elementary

    Dear 1st Grade Families,

    In the spring of 2013, I was given the wonderful opportunity to travel to the Museum of Science in Boston through a very generous grant provided by the MEF. With this grant, I spent several days learning about the Engineering is Elementary Program that brings STEM education into elementary schools. STEM is the term that describes integrating science, technology, engineeringand math.

    Our curriculum standards affirm that engineering and technological literacy are necessary for the 21st century. They foster problem solving skills, embrace project based learning, and encompass hands-on construction. In addition, they sharpen the children’s ability to function in three dimensions: all of which are important skills for prospering in the modern world.

    The First Graders at Allen will be the first to pilot, “To Get to the Other Side: Designing Bridges" a curricular program that integrates the science students have already learned with the introduction of civil engineering design.  Throughout this unit, students will apply what they learned about the science of push and pull (forces) and balance to help young Javier, from Texas, design and improve a bridge.

    This unit will be completed during the students’ computer class. A blog documenting the students’ progress has been created (http://www.medford.k12.nj.us//site/Default.aspx?PageID=3077)   I welcome you to follow our journey and share your thoughts as we hope to enhance knowledge of technology and inspire the next generation of engineers, inventors, and innovators.

    If you have expertise in the field of civil engineering or Texas cultural experience, the students and I would love to hear from you! In addition, please feel free to email me at mschoenberger@medford.k12.nj.us  with any questions or comments you may have.

    Technology and I.M.P.A.C.T Teacher
    Milton H. Allen and Chairville Schools

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