For the 2019-20 school year, the district is enhancing its emphasis on STEAM education with additional classes and activities.
The district has added two new STEAM classes at each of its three schools beginning this fall. Technology teachers and library media specialists at Birch, Chatterton and Levy Lakeside schools will teach these programs, rotating between each school’s STEAM lab, technology room and library on a project/lesson basis.
“These new student experiences were designed to encourage students to become increasingly independent as they create digital products that engage them in critical thinking, collaboration and authentic, real-world problem-solving,” said Merrick UFSD Director of Student Services Dr. Salvatore Dossena. Digital books, storyboards and videos are among some of the projects that students will create.
Grade K-2 students at all schools will engage in additional project-based technology learning in robotics, engineering, digital storytelling and multimodal literacy. Much of this will entail students using both iPads and Windows-based applications to program robots to perform more intricate tasks. Students will program a Code & Go Robot Mouse, Ozobots, and Dash and Dot robots based on their grade level/task.
Grade 3-6 students will further develop their skills in robotics and advance their coding skills, moving from drag and drop coding to Python. These grades will also learn how to design mobile apps. Fifth and sixth graders will also learn to code drones. While learning becomes more complex in the higher grade levels, students are engaged in meaningful problem-solving and coding activities very early on.
Additionally, all students will engage in digital citizenship lessons throughout the school year, at a developmentally appropriate level, to teach them how to have a positive impact on their digital footprint.
“While learning becomes more complex in the higher grade levels, students are engaged in significant problem-solving and coding activities early on,” Dossena added. “Every student is learning how to effectively and responsibly use technology in order to achieve or create something meaningful.”