Thomasville Times Enterprise

Local News

July 16, 2014

Brookwood students utilize new Lower School STEM Lab

THOMASVILLE — At Brookwood School, students in junior kindergarten through the fifth grade are discovering innovative methods of learning with a new curriculum incorporated into a new laboratory. Students participating in science, technology and robotics summer camps already have utilized the new lab.

“At Brookwood, science is used as a springboard for integrating science, technology, engineering, and math —STEM,” explained Lower School Science teacher Lori Stauffer. “Due to the implementation of the new STEM lab, our curriculum offers a greater emphasis on skills needed for a STEM literate society — such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and innovation.”

"I am looking forward to the coming school year, when all Lower School students will have access to this lab throughout the year,” said Dr. Randy Watts, Brookwood headmaster.

The former Lower School Science Lab and storage room were completely cleared of furnishings and equipment to make room for the brand new components of three main modules:  LEGO Education, Everyday STEM and Missions.

For students to be equipped with STEM knowledge and creative problem-solving skills necessary to become innovative and creative thinkers, LEGO’s STEM-focused solutions create environments where learning happens in a hands-on and motivational way.

The youngest students will discover their talents and use LEGOs to facility cooperative play and early exploration of social and scientific principles.

Beginning in the second grade, students will use the LEGO Education Simple Machines to gain an in-depth understanding of mechanical and structural principles built into everyday machines. By designing and building original creations, as well as by testing solutions, students work as young scientists and engineers, all while honing design technology, science, and math skills.

Missions modules offer youngsters opportunities to explore and work in teams, as scientists do. Dedicated to a specific topic, Missions help students utilize math, technology, language arts and real life career-related content in each module.

Third-graders are introduced to software programming by building hands-on working models with integrated technology and a curriculum focusing on problem solving. Students will use an intuitive software program to bring their models to life via an introductory robotics platform.

Grade 4 students advance to the Simple and Motorized Mechanisms module to learn simple machines concepts while developing teamwork and communication skills. They will gain understanding of basic physical science concepts such as gears, pulleys, levers, wheels and axles.

Fifth graders are introduced to the LEGO Mindstorms EV3, a robotics kit that allows students to build and program their own robots to walk, talk, “think” and do anything the student can imagine.

Everyday STEM — integrating STEM into all aspects of classroom learning — is utilized in all Lower School classes. Teachers worked with consultants at the end of the last school year to learn how to utilize STEM concepts in all class subjects. During Brookwood's pre-planning schedule in August, teachers will again have hands-on opportunities to experiment with the new equipment and learning tools.

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