Blog - August 10
Hi!! My name is Cindy Trueblood and I am the STEM Rec Coordinator for Franklin Discovery Academy. I am thrilled to be apart of your child’s educational experience. We have put together an exceptional team of educators to provide your children with enriching and engaging challenges throughout the year.
By way of introduction, my undergraduate degree is in social sciences with a teaching certificate in secondary education. I completed my Master of Education with an ESL endorsement 5 years ago. I have many years of teaching experience including teaching at a private school in Panama, and for DODDS, the school system for military families. I have also interned in a Montessori school. Additionally, I worked in the private sector for many years as the manager of a very successful sculpting studio.
BUT, the most important thing I would like you to know about me is that I know how special your children are. They are our future and every student in STEM Rec will be treated with the utmost respect and dignity. To clarify how we feel about our responsibility towards our students, the STEM Rec team put together this mission statement for school year 2017/18.
Why do we exist? To ignite a passion for learning.
How do we behave? We love, support and challenge our students
What do we do? We create a rich, engaging, and positive learning community.
How will we succeed? We believe in our students.
I am always available to discuss ways to improve STEM Rec. If you have ideas, questions or concerns, please contact me via email at email@example.com or call the school at 801-785-6500. I would love to chat!
STEM Rec is a unique and exciting learning environment where students have the freedom to choose which activities they want to participate in. As educators, our goal is to empower each student to explore subjects that interest them by providing an environment rich in materials and learning opportunities. Their job is to take “control” of their own education and become responsible learners.
To accomplish this, challenges will be offered in the following subjects: (STEM) science, technology, engineering and math, social studies, literacy, art, music and wellness. We provide up to 6 focused, Station Master-led challenges (explained below) weekly. Additionally, students can participate in self-directed challenges (explained below) found at each station and at the exhibits throughout STEM Rec.
Focused challenges conducted by Station Masters.
Focused challenges are small group activities (8-10 students) led by an adult who has expertise in their subject area. All challenges include hands-on activities to make the lessons fun and engaging. A reading and writing component will be added to challenges when possible. Focused challenges change weekly so there will be a plenty of exciting learning opportunities for students to choose from. A list of the upcoming challenges will be posted to the blog each Friday so you can review them with your child and discuss which challenges would be most interesting to them.
Self-directed challenges are available in each of the subject areas and at each of the exhibits in STEM Rec. If students prefer to work alone or create their own small groups, they can. Self-directed challenges are created by Station Masters to follow the themes they are teaching at their stations. These challenges change continually so students always have a variety of options to choose from. You should never hear your students say, “There’s nothing to do in STEM Rec”.
Incentive Card Program
Each week students can choose to participate in the STEM Rec incentive program. Cards are available at the Fox Dot Store and can be kept in their name badge. As students complete challenges, station masters will punch their card. If students collect 5 punches each week, they can enter their card in the incentive jar. Students who consistently complete their incentive cards will receive a special treat at the end of each block.
There are a variety of ways parents can volunteer or help out in STEM Rec. Elementary age students LOVE seeing their parents at school and in STEM Rec, we do too!! PARENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME!!
No need to coordinate with us, just drop in and spend as much time as you can afford. Stay for 30 minutes or several hours. It might be fun to volunteer when your child is in STEM Rec and work with them to complete a self-directed challenge or assist the Station Master as they participate in small group activity. Children grow so fast (trust me, I raised 5). Spend as much time as you can with them while they are little. You will never get this time back.
If you are a mom with toddlers at home and find it difficult to come into the school to complete your volunteer hours, we have good news! STEM Rec is in constant need of volunteers to help prepare materials. Cut, color, and collate things at home while the baby naps. If you want to take more initiative, create a challenge!! Parents did this last year and students were so happy and proud to share a challenge they helped create. Contact Cindy if you are interested.
Become an Honorary Station Master and prepare a challenge
For parents who have expertise in specific areas, we encourage you to come and share your knowledge with our students. Become an honorary “station master” and prepare a focused challenge. Present your challenge to a small group (or groups) of students. This would need to be coordinated, so contact Cindy if you are interested. We urge parents to participate in the Honorary Station Master Program. Sharing what you know will make our school a better and more interesting institution of learning.
Per our charter, service projects are an important part of our student’s curriculum. If any parents are interested in heading up a service project, STEM Rec would be a perfect place to organize and implement it. Some ideas that come to mind: teaching a small group of students to knit and knitting scarfs to send to refuges, making wooden toys to give to Toys for Tots for Christmas, creating quilts to take to the hospital for preemies. Again, just let me know If you are interested.
We are in constant need of materials as we have 500+ students passing through STEM Rec each day!! Parents can contribute material in lieu of volunteer hours. Every $10 of materials equal one hour of volunteering. Here are some ideas:
Construction paper Card Stock Origami Paper
Popsicle sticks Toothpicks String
Pipe Cleaners Balloons Modeling clay
Sandwich bags AA Batteries Disposable gloves
Markers Crayons Colored pencils
Paper towels Tissue Hand sanitizer
Clorox wipes Yarn Batting (for pillows)
Thread Straws Rubber bands
White out Theater props Straws
Pencils Pens Erasers
Tape (duct, masking, etc) Wood glue Glue Sticks
Sponges Cotton Balls Small Cups
White ankle socks (for art projects) Used magazines (all kinds - storyboarding) Books (reading corner) Stuffed animals (reading corner)
Winter knit gloves (puppets - art) Science Magazines or books
Utah themed books (social studies) History / Cultural books(social studies)
For our makerspace (engineering and design challenges) we are looking for recyclables: paper towel and toilet tubes (empty) fruit and yogurt cups, cereal boxes, metal washers, empty spools, plastic spoons, egg cartons, cups, bubble wrap, etc. You get the idea.
Upcoming Focused Challenges
We will be going over procedures and rules for the STEM Rec Room. Miss Aubrey, the Science Station Master, will demonstrate the phenomenal natural wonder - the total eclipse of the sun - in preparation for the upcoming eclipse which happens on Monday, August 21. Students will use a model sun, earth, and, moon to mimic eclipses. We’ll talk about the differences between solar and lunar eclipses as well as total, partial, and annular eclipses.
State standard: Students will understand the scale of size, distance between objects, movement, and apparent motion (due to Earth's rotation) of objects in the universe. We will be discussing a folklore stories from around the world and how ancient civilizations explained the eclipse. We will also be explaining what folklore means and its role in history. Our theme will carry over to the art station where student will use their creative ? to make a unique mask to go along with the stories they will hear...wolves, dragons, suns and moons are waiting to come to life!
The objective of this week's lesson is to open up to one another and feel comfortable with writing. We are going to start off with each student picking three different color starbursts. Each color has a corresponding question students will have to answer. Students will share the answers to their questions with the group. Next, we will go outside where we will divide into partners. Each student will trace their partner with chalk. Once they have traced each other, they will learn three things about their partner and write them down on the other half of their focus sheet!
We will be playing "Trashketball". Using flash cards and having the kids answer the questions as fast as they can to help them learn to recognize simple addition, multiplication, divison and subtraction problems on sight. Also adding a fun competitive side by letting students who answer correctly shoot the ball into the trash can for points.
Snap Circuit certification. We are offering three levels of certification in Snap Circuits this block. Students begin with the Standard Certification, where they will be guided through lessons 1 - 100 with the Station Master. This is a week long challenge which students sign up for and attend daily. Once a student has completed the standard certification and are competent in using Snap Circuits, they are qualified to work independently to continue learning. There are two additional levels of certification available - Expert Certification (completing lessons 101 - 200) and Master Certification (completing lessons 201 - 300).
This year at the Art Station we will be exploring all sorts of art techniques, cultures, and artists from around the world! Would you like to try weaving, sculpture, printmaking, collage, painting, hand-building, jewelry making, large collaborative pieces, and so much more? Plan on visiting our station each week to see what fun we will be having as we travel the globe! We begin our adventures right here in America getting to know Jackson Pollock and his wacky and mesmerizing expressionist murals...we think everyone will go crazy for splatter painting!! Join the fun as we tie this into "Space Week" with a glittery and colorful galaxy masterpiece like none other! We also kick off our first service project of creating beautiful hand folded paper flowers to be added to cards and delivered to local rest homes in honor of Grandparents Day coming up. If you finish any station early, make your way to our service project table and join in the effort to brighten the day of a local senior citizen.
Constellation Week. Students will be able to describe the appearance and motion of groups of stars in the night sky relative to Earth and how various cultures have understood and used them. By the end of the challenge, students should be able to:
- Connect the dots to form constellations from stars.
- Recognize a few famous constellations, and know the myths behind them
- Look up and understand that everything they see is science.
- Locate and identify stars in the night sky.
- Demonstrate their understanding of constellation patterns and earth movement
Utah 6th Grade Science Standards:
STANDARD IV: Students will understand the scale of size, distance between objects, movement, and apparent motion (due to Earth’s rotation) of objects in the universe and how cultures have understood, related to and used these objects in the night sky.
Halley's Comet has been hailed as an omen for thousands of years. Appearing every 76 years, it's been a symbol of reign and a predictor of pestilence, and inspiration for kings, scientists, and artists alike. This week, the kids will learn about some of these stories and, through pen and crayon, create their own.