STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. SGGA focuses on these areas together not only because the skills and knowledge in each discipline are essential for student success, but also because these fields are deeply intertwined in the real world and in how students learn most effectively. STEM is an interdisciplinary and applied approach that is coupled with hands-on, problem-based learning.
“In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy. To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past.”
(National Science Foundation)
Mrs. Maria Carfaro, our K-8 Science Lab instructor, focuses on integrating STEM concepts into the Academy's Science Lab curriculum. These concepts augment student learning, increase engagement, and enhance higher level thinking skills. St. Gregory the Great Academy is on the forefront of implementing curriculum that will deliver a long-term academic advantage to its students.
Take a look at what our students are up to:
: As an introduction to engineering, the students were asked to build the tallest tower possible with the recycled materials they were given. Some groups learned quickly that sometimes the container the materials are given in can be an important resource in a STEM challenge! We also talked about environmental responsibility.
FIRST GRADE: The students build houses for the three little pigs using given materials: gummie bears, mini marshmallows, tooth picks, paper, tape, etc. Then they tested it to see if the “Big Bad Wolf” (a.k.a a hairdryer) could knock it down. Then they improved and retested. This lesson was an introduction to what engineers do and the engineering design process.
Each student worked to build a boat out of aluminum foil. After they built their boats secretly, they were put in groups to help each other improve their boats. They engaged in student-led conversation about what their boats reminded them of, what they were imagining while building the boats, ways they might improve the boats, and other examples of things that floated well. Finally, the students took turns floating their boats and asking each other questions such as, "How would you change your boat if you did this project again?" Student-led, respectful, and meaningful conversation was our goal!
THIRD GRADE: Students designed parachutes to allow plastic frogs to travel to the ground as slowly as possible. They tested their designs and discussed which design worked best.