iTime in middle school is an hour per week devoted to authentic inquiry and student engagement. In the month of February, students will begin projects based on their own areas of passion. To prepare for this level of independent inquiry, students have engaged in projects in a variety of fields. January’s field of inquiry was Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), allowing students to creatively engage with real-world problems in these areas.
Middle school STEM teachers Ms. Eastlake and Ms. Colteryahn created a mini curriculum for STEM Challenge Month. Every middle school student participated, allowing all middle schoolers to experience the core principles of STEM - including the Design Cycle - and to have a lot of fun doing it.
Examples of projects included building zip lines, designing bridges and discovering comets on the NASA website. Grade 8 student Abel R. commented on his experiences: “I worked with my advisory group to make the zip lines and bridges. I like that in STEM challenges we are pushed to work hard and we each have a role. For example, when I did the bridge building activity we were able to have a competition to apply our knowledge. Beyond the competitive aspect, I also enjoy the teamwork involved in STEM.”
Fellow 8th grade student Caio U. elaborated on these experiences: “I like STEM because it incentives me to be creative. It’s also a subject where I get to work on teamwork because we have to work together as a group to come up with the final product.”
In this way students work on academic and social skills in a collaborative and fun environment. We look forward to applying these skills developed in the STEM inquiry times to our personal passion projects moving forward this semester.