Washington Elementary – 4th Grade STEM Week
Washington Elementary had its annual 4th Grade STEM Week earlier this month. Every year, the teachers organize this special week of instruction focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math learning.
This year, there were five stations, each lasting one hour. Two stations used kits from GO-STEM to make catapults and straw structures. Another station involved the construction of tin foil boats, and another was marbles on ramps made from pipe insulation. The last station was coding on Code.org!
According to Michelle Herburger, 4th Grade Teacher, students enjoyed each session, returning ready to share what they had learned. The students also really enjoyed seeing their teachers dressed up as scientists in white lab coats and big white wigs.
What do teachers want the kids to take away from STEM Week? “We really focus on thinking and trying during this time. We offer students the supplies with limited direction and allow them to work together to make mistakes and learn from each other. It is a structure we don’t get to utilize much, and students aren’t used to not having a scripted plan given to them. They persevere and process so many concepts in such a short amount of time,” said Herburger.
Washington’s teachers said it’s powerful to have fun with the students and to watch this style of learning. They said they listen to the conversations that students have with each other and appreciate the respect they have for their peers and their learning. “We love it when they see success after several failed attempts. We love it when it’s time to stop, and they don’t want to. It reminds us why we became teachers.”