This will be our second full year incorporating STEM into our school. We (along with three other elementary magnet schools in our district) were lucky enough to receive a federal grant to become a STEM school. However, this grant came to us with little to no instructions, ideas, etc. of how to even begin. Through long hours, days, weeks, months of work, we come up with what STEM looked like to us (and it is still evolving). Our school has specials (art, music, PE), but at a different time during the day we also have a STEM lab rotation. The students either go to the S.T.E. or M. for 50 min daily for 18 days at a time (I get every K-2 class twice a year, we have two science teachers) so that we can do problem and project based curriculum in the labs. So yes, most teachers have not one, but two 50 minute planning blocks a day. Our problem based units are extensions of what is going on in the classroom, so to help with consistency,we have four themed units (one for each nine weeks). First is Mystery Madness (based on the nature of science), Let's Get Physical (physical science), Out of this World (earth/space science), and Circles of Life (life science). Yes, we are science based. We start with science and go from there. :) Our kids are loving it! We are going from having little to no professional development to having more than we can attend. Because of the grant, we have been able to attend many conferences, and visit other schools. Out goes the 1980's style of teaching and in with 2012! I am so thankful for all of my new technology! Smartboard, doc camera, video camera, digital camera, ipad, new laptop, digital microscope, smartboard response systems, slates, and so much more!
Is anyone a teacher at a STEM school? Do you love it? What is STEM to you?