Our modern world is highly driven by the components of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). It is important that as a top private school in Brampton, that we develop learners that keep asking hard questions, develop creative solutions, formulate plans, conduct research and apply it to real world problems. This term the Grade 1 students at Rowntree Montessori Schools are learning all about weather and seasonal changes in Science. This week we focused on various types of weather, tracking it through daily observation to understand temperature changes throughout the seasons. While tracking the weather as a group, each day our class engages in daily discussions about the importance of recognizing temperature changes and weather patterns. This brought us to the discussion of who and what the weather impacts and why it is important to be aware of the weather patterns and changes.
Our students are naturally curious, and so the STEM approach to learning is a perfect fit for this curiosity of the real world. It encourages students to question, explore, and wonder about the world around them. Our students have been challenged to think of different ways to check and track the weather to help people like farmers track climate changes. This week they learned to use a thermometer for the temperature, a ruler and a cup to measure the accumulation of rainwater and explored online weather resources to identify various weather transitions and changes. After exploring various weather measuring instruments, the students challenged themselves to make their own weather measuring tools. After many models and diagrams were drawn up, it was decided that they wanted to create something to measure the speed of the wind. This presented the challenge of building their own version of a wind tracking machine that had to be able to move with the wind to determine whether the wind was moving fast or slow.
STEM promotes cooperative learning, collaboration, problem solving but also provides an environment where students learn to work together by listening and learning to the ideas of others. The students began by drawing out a model of what they wanted their machine to look like and then determined what materials they would need and where to place them. They were happy to create an overall plan for their instrument. After testing many different materials they came up with a final product. It is important that in the STEM approach to learning that the students focus on the learning and not just the outcome. Even though the goal was to create a solution to a weather problem, the questions, plus the critical and innovative thinking they used during the process, was the most important part in the learning process. STEM as an approach to learning, not only exposes children to many experiences but also fosters them to develop an innovative mindset that we hope they carry with them into their futures.
“We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself” – Lloyd Alexander
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