STEM Challenge Teacher Professional Development
Before a STEM Challenge is introduced to students via the STEM Kickoff, the STEM Challenge is introduced to staff. Through a one hour PD, teachers become the learners and attempt the STEM Challenge in the same way the students will experience the challenge. Teachers work through the challenge and learn through doing, the struggles students may have as well as the understanding of the science and engineering behind the challenge as well as a chance to clear out any misconceptions and insecurities.
Grappling with the challenge task is an important understanding for teachers as they facilitate and support their student throughout the challenge. To promote perseverance and "positive" failure, teachers must first be learners themselves.
STEM Challenge KICKOFF
The STEM Challenge begins with a kickoff during the first week of each month. In this first phase, teachers and students learn the STEM Challenge at an interactive assembly. A brief story, play or scene is created to engage students and staff.
Following the kickoff assemble, phase two begins in which teachers receive materials needed for students to create and compete in the STEM Challenge.
STEM Classroom Competition
Once the STEM Kickoff has taken place, teachers and students have the entire month to compete the STEM Challenge. The third phase of the STEM Challenge is the classroom competition phase. Students, with the teachers guidance, have been working throughout the month on the theme for the month's STEM Challenge. During this phase, students compete against classmates in the room. The student teams that place in the top two positions
of the Classroom Competition move on to represent their class in the School wide competition the following day.
STEM School Competition
The fourth and final phase of the Monthly STEM Challenge is the School Competition. Usually held on the last Friday of the month, the School Competition is an opportunity for individual classroom winning teams to compete against their peers in grade level and grade band.
The School competition is organized into grade bands shown below:
- Grades K-2
- Grades 3-6
- Grades 7-8
From each grade band, a first and second place winner will emerge and be recognized.
Each monthly STEM Challenge is standards based and purposefully connected to NYS Learning standards in most if not all content areas. STEM Challenges are designed to allow teachers to create additional learning experiences that integrate into the main content focus work of the month. Each STEM Challenge is designed and presented with specific standards to support the relevance of promoting the STEM Challenge in the classroom learning experiences.
STEM Challenges 2016-2017 School Year
Each STEM Challenge this year is based on a specific piece of literature
to be used interdiscplinarily with the challenge.
September: Design a device that will keep Henny Penny safe
Story: Chicken Little
October: Design a Marble Run (Roller Coaster)
Story: Tortise and the Hare
November: Design a basket to hold the most Gram Masses
Story: Red Riding Hood
December/January: Design a pulley system to carry a load to the top of a tower
February/March: Design a house for the three pigs.
Story: Three Little Pigs
April/May: Design a map with clues
Story: Peter Pan
STEM Challenges 2015-2016 School Year
September STEM Challenge
October STEM Challenge
November STEM Challenge
December/January STEM Challenge