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STEAM Lessons Part of Pine-Richland School District Daily Life
Pine-Richland School District STEAM Initiatives
Students are learning how to apply skills and content knowledge to real-world applications as teachers build collaborative alliances with the community and colleagues across the disciplines here at Pine-Richland School District.
Students are learning firsthand about science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics through STEAM education. Here is a snapshot of just some of the STEAM-related lessons, projects and programs you will find in district classrooms.
Pine-Richland High School
Pine-Richland High School students are using 21st Century skills by designing, programming and building robots in their robotics-engineering course. Students are using RobotC software created by Carnegie Mellon University. Teacher Evan Clark says the software allows students to program and equip the robots with sensors to provide feedback, which controls which direction the robot moves.
At the end of the year, students let off a little steam during the “Battle Bot” competition. Students are challenged to create robots that can withstand being beat up by other robots. The competition is open to local schools. Students converge on the STEAM wing to try to knock their competitors’ robots out of the ring first. The competition not only incorporates designing and creating robots, but troubleshooting skills.
In the Engineering Design classes, Teacher Jeff Maple introduces students to 3D modeling software to design and produce the body of an electric guitar. When the projects complete, the guitar must be fully functional with physics principles applied. Students are not only using problem-solving and engineering skills, they’re applying physics, music and design skills.
Pine-Richland Middle School
Students at the high school and middle school also participate in the annual Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair as well as other programs including the Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science Competition.
At the middle school, students learn first-hand from experts whose careers are in the STEAM-related fields, during STEAM day. Past speakers included engineers that designed Army robots, communication satellite systems and cars. Many of the experts are community members of Pine and Richland townships.
At Pine-Richland Middle School, students are also connecting knowledge with skills. They are learning how to apply statistics to their love of baseball in the PRMS Fantasy Baseball Math program. PRMS Assistant Principal Caitlin Bogosta said students are learning these concepts by working with real and fictional baseball player stats.
Mr. TJ Srsic's seventh and eighth grade computer students participate in the "Doodle 4 Google" national competition. This year students were challenged to create a Google Logo that expressed the theme “If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place.
Eden Hall Upper Elementary School
Students at Eden Hall Upper Elementary School learned how to apply math skills to real-life lessons on how to deal with credit scores, debt and other personal finance issues. Expert speakers from the community volunteered their time and taught students more about these topics through the "Economics for Success" project through Junior Achievement May 6-8, 2014.
Three-days, dozens of volunteers and hundreds of students are just some of the ingredients in the formula for a successful science olympiad. Fourth graders enjoyed the competition while learning about STEAM-related principles such as buoyancy, reflection and physics.
Each year students and staff connect with the community by inviting speakers to talk about their STEAM-related careers. Students at EHUE have heard testimony from all types of experts in the field ranging from a crime scene investigator to a medical scientist who works with a pharmaceutical company in fighting diabetes.
Also at EHUE, students are learning how to build prototypes, test those prototypes and pitch them to potential investors. This is no easy engineering feat. However, students in Teacher Tom Belchick did just that during a classroom competition modeled after the ABC hit show “Shark Tank.”
Eden Hall Upper Elementary students are not only playing music, they are composing their own music. The fifth grade general music students are working hard to practice and perform their original compositions. The songs are 12 measures, in C Major, complete with original melodies and lyrics.
Hance Elementary School
At Hance Elementary School, students are learning about the importance of preserving and planting trees. They received a special visit from one of our own community members who is a board-certified master arborist and a local manager of Bartlett Tree Experts.
Students in Teacher Carin Liberati’s classroom are using some unique strategies not only to build upon their music but their reading skills. They are using music to learn important concepts in reading. They sing the strategies that are crucial to becoming better readers. For example, students sang “Rockin’ Reader” a spin off of “Rockin’ Robin.”
Third grade science is quite popular among students because of the inquiry-based nature of the classroom projects, which allows students to go beyond the books and conduct hands-on experiments. Students study concepts such as the structure of life with the ASSET STEM Science kits. For example, at Hance Elementary School, students utilized kits containing crayfish and beetles. While some might call the contents creepy and crawly, the students were all too eager to share an up-close look at the crayfish and beetles.
Richland Elementary School
Students in K-3 enjoyed visits from the Carnegie Science Center who showcased its Science on the Road assemblies. Representatives from the Carnegie Science Center presented hands-on activities involving topics such as: Chemical Concoctions, Forces, Matter, & Motion and the Inflatable Classroom Planet.
Wexford Elementary School
The school proudly displays pictures and descriptions of careers A-Z in the front lobby. The students have an opportunity to view all of the different career and discuss with classroom teachers. Parents and community members also join students for "Power Lunch" to discuss their careers with the students. Careers A to Z is a guidance project, supported by the WPTO that raises awareness of the world of careers. Guidance Counselor Amy Kleissas asked for parents and community members to share a photo and description of their job or career and the response was amazing. In addition, Hance and Richland have been hosting the same project to the credit of Tammy Godino and Amy Molitor. This year, students from Beattie stopped over to talk to third graders to talk about careers.
Third grade students became engineers for the week as they participated in STEAM-related events. Teachers at Wexford Elementary School along with field students from Slippery Rock University worked collaboratively to design this opportunity for students. Teacher Christofer Vins said the purpose of STEAM Week was to focus on engineering and the engineering design process. Students were involved in several different hands-on engineering activities throughout the week.
Students at all primary buildings enjoy the ASSET Science kits. At Wexford, students designed bridges. The students were challenged to design a bridge made from paper and other materials and then test and improve their bridges, using the evaluation criteria of strength and stability. Teacher Leslie Doane says the children had a great time collaborating with their classmates, working on their original design, building it, and then testing and improving it. “What a great way to incorporate the STEAM initiative into second grade, as we learn what civil engineering is and what civil engineers do,” said Ms. Doane.