By Elena Nickerson
Lower School STEM
Part of our work in preparing students for the future is to guide them in learning how to access and use information in ways that are meaningful to them. Providing opportunities and time for students to tap into their desire to learn about their world is necessary so that they can pursue their interests and passions. Lead With Heart was a project-based learning process where students explored topics and interests connected to their passions. In addition to researching about the topic or concept, they applied problem-solving to seek a way to share what they learned with an audience. After the students formed groups based on their passions, they discussed situations or issues related to the topic that concerned them or presented a challenge.
The learning goals throughout the process were:
● Assess and use information in ways that is meaningful
● Pursue interests and passions
● Apply knowledge and solutions to real-world problems through independent projects that extend beyond the classroom and impact a specific audience or community
● Apply critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity, problem solving, design-thinking, organization and civic engagement
● Entrepreneurship skills (writing proposals and presenting a pitch)
● Focus on the audience, user or issue (not yourself). Focus on the person, group or natural world that will use, experience or be affected by the project designed
The agenda and timeline was student-directed. Each group also met with an adult mentor from the school community.
List of Projects/Events
- Kids Contact-Peer to peer letter writing to seek advice and guidance to maintain a healthy body, mind and soul
- Healthy Habitats- Organize and run a tree-planting event to add additional trees on the school campus, lead an eco-challenge for grades Jk-4 to complete tasks that are beneficial to the environment
- Litter NOT! -Organize a day for Lower School to clean up litter from the Friendship Forest area, work with Chef Anthony to continue to find gouter snacks that are nutritious and use sustainable packaging
- Climate Earth- Change Conversations- teach and inform students in grades K-4 about climate change through an information page on the OASIS webpage and a YouTube video
- Project Animals and Pollution- teach and inform EC students about litter and how it affects wildlife. Design and create a game to reinforce ways to practice green habits
- Touched By the Heart- write and illustrate a book for children about coping with a diagnosis of cancer in the family or loved ones
- No Pollution! - Design and create an informational flier to raise awareness about litter and other environmental issues (middle school target audience)
- Math Lemonade- create digital tutorial videos to review math concepts so that grade 4 students can use for extra review or homework help
- Naturific- assess the condition of the marked stations in the nature trail. Report areas that need repair to school administration. Plan a nature trail cleanup and restoration with lower school.
- Voices Empower- Explore the technology of audio recording of books at Learning Ally to learn about the ways that audio books are used as a resource for the blind and other special needs in literacy. Record a story for the three-year-old class.