In this small rural town, there is one school, which is a special place. Students come to us with great diversity. Approximately 60% of our students qualify for free or reduced rate lunch at this Title I school, and 20% of our students are English Language Learners. As a school, we are committed to providing all of them with the most excellent environment and education possible.
Many of our low socioeconomic students are underachieving.
Statistics show that the achievement gap exists for them before they reach kindergarten. By the time they reach fourth and fifth grade, many are more than a grade level behind, and again, statistically, their chances of reaching grade level, or finishing high school are slim.
But there is hope. STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math) field careers are growing faster than graduates can be placed in them. Many of these opportunities are available for students out of high school, especially if they are technology savvy, innovative, and have participated in STEM education in school. This is the most promising avenue for the at-risk students in my classroom.
The Engineering Adventures which will be purchased if this project is funded has been developed to engage learner in grades 3-5 in fun, creative problem solving.
The scenario for this activity is as follows: "While travelling in Thailand, Jacob and India learn that monsoon rains can cause severe flooding that cuts people off from important supplies." Kids will help Jacob and India engineer “aid drop packages” that can be dropped from an aircraft, protect what’s inside, and are easy to find once they reach the ground.
The students will use each step of the Engineering Design Process as they become packaging engineers and design an aid drop package.
This project exemplifies STEM: it incorporates open-ended problems with a global context. Learners find out more about the role engineering plays in their lives and the world around them as they’re introduced to real engineering challenges and asked to design solutions with an engineering design process. Students will learn to collaborate, communicate, solve problems, and share their solutions with their peers.
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