Superintendent of Perry Township Schools
STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) has been introduced to Jeremiah Gray and Rosa Parks elementary schools in the form of Project Lead the Way, which engages students to develop essential skills such as problem solving, critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration and perseverance.
This program supports all of our students, including those who struggle, our high-achieving ones and our English learners.
Our first-graders are learning about light and sound. The students are given a challenge in which characters are lost and they must use only the materials in their backpacks to communicate over a distance by using light and/or sound.
Children in the second grade have researched the various ways animals disperse seeds and pollinate plants. Students were tasked with starting a wildflower garden outside of their schools. The students applied their knowledge and skills to design, build, test and reflect on a device that mimics a way in which animals spread seeds or pollinate plants.
Our third-graders designed, built and tested an experimental model glider to find out how air and other forces affect its flight.
Our fourth-grade pupils explored the properties of mechanisms and how they changed energy by transferring direction, speed, type of movement and force. Students discovered a variety of ways potential energy can be stored and released as kinetic energy. After watching amusement park bumper cars collide, the children applied their knowledge and skills to develop a vehicle restraint system.
Fifth-graders explored the ways robots are used in today’s world and their impact on society and the environment. Students were tasked with designing a mobile robot that can remove hazardous materials from a disaster site.
There are four modules at each grade level, and each module supports our state standards in science. The Project Lead the Way teacher works with each class of students alongside their teacher.
The students said they are excited to take part in these classes and are applying their knowledge to other subject areas and even experimenting at home.
We are hopeful to expand the project to Clinton Young and Lincoln elementary schools for the 2017-18 calendar year. We are also planning to expand to Southport and Perry Meridian sixth-grade academies for the 2017-18 school year. These expansions will be dependent on this year’s pilot program.