Magazine article The Elementary STEM Journal

Super STEM School

Magazine article The Elementary STEM Journal

Super STEM School

Article excerpt

The Super STEM Schools section highlights elementary schools that are engaging in active STEM education. These nominated schools are doing SUPER things to promote student interest in science, technology engineering, and mathematics!

This issue's nominated elementary school is:

Woodbrook Elementary School

Edison, NJ

A roar of cheers rolled out of Kelly Miragliotta's fourth grade In-Class Resource classroom as a model of a wind turbine finally rotated after various attempts. The cheers were so loud, one student had to say, "Stop yelling!" This is only one example of the persistence, engagement, and focused learning that has been observed down many of the hallways in Woodbrook Elementary School in Edison, NJ.

Woodbrook Elementary School, with over 950 students K-5, is the largest of the eleven elementary schools in the Edison Township Public School district. It serves students from diverse cultures, economic backgrounds, and learning needs.

Woodbrook School propelled Itself to the top of the district's implementation of the STEM initiative due to the dedication and forward thinking of the staff. Many of the teaching staff were among the first volunteers to attend an elementary STEM training session as part of a grant offered by The Center for Excellence In STEM Education at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). Chris Anderson, Di-

rector of the iSTEM initiative, matched the district's commitment of time and resources to begin longrange plans to create iSTEM experiences in every elementary classroom.

The professional development in the Engineering byDesign(TM) process was the major factor in ensuring iSTEM success in the classroom. During these sessions, teachers worked with the same design challenges their students would be asked to grapple with in the classroom. Teachers acquired an expertise in the design process and a newly found appreciation of the difference between scientific method and inquiry.

In the classroom, students discover that the more questions they ask, the more learning they uncover. Students work collaboratively and persevere through this iterative process, engaging in every part of their design challenge. An important component of iSTEM pedagogy is the iSTEM notebook that provides space for gaining knowledge as well as for reflection and design. …

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