After a little more than a month of school, the year is off to a great start. This year, I have been able to start two new programs at my school for our students. The first is a weekly science lab block for our sixth grade. As the fourth and fifth grade science teacher at my school, one of my frustrations over the last few years has been the lack of hands-on science opportunities that our sixth graders have once they leave my classes. This lab time gives me the chance to provide labs for them that tie into what they are learning in their science class. For our first lab dealing with heat energy, students were able to measure changes in heat from endothermic and exothermic reactions, create a model of convection currents, and observe changes in thermal energy as they made sodium acetate sculptures. The students are excited for the opportunity for hands-on learning, and I am excited that I am getting the chance to keep our sixth grade students engaged in learning about science.
A second program that I am very excited about is an after school STEM Club for our fifth and sixth graders. A total of 24 students are participating in STEM Club, which will give them the opportunity to extend their scientific, problem-solving, and design skills. Our STEM club students are divided into two teams who will be competing in a variety of challenges throughout the school year. Our first challenge, which was just completed was an egg drop activity, in which students had to design devices to allow their eggs to fall from the greatest height possible without breaking.
I am excited for the new opportunities that our sixth grade labs and STEM club will provide our students this year!