There are many tactics for teaching STEM and some schools are finding fun ways to make these concepts memorable. With science, technology, engineering and math being such a big focus it’s great to see that schools are getting into the spirt.
Jason Raddatz is the STEM teacher at the Albion Public Schools. He’s giddy that he gets to make homemade bottle rockets that are used to study trajectory. There are tables filled with wings, two-liter bottles and in the corner, and air compressor. He’s like a kid in a candy store!
There, a PVC pipe remote-operated underwater vehicle, which Albion students can use to scout a mock shipwreck on the bottom of the school pool. And here, Lego robots fitted with ultrasonic sensors affixed to the front, which the robots can use to line up and whack a target with whatever weapon kids want to install.
“I have the best job in the world because I get to play with all the toys I wanted to when I was a kid,” Raddatz said. “And I get paid for it.”
On Nov. 1 and 2, Raddatz will share those toys with fifth- through eighth-graders from Albion, Mar Lee and Marshall schools as Albion hosts its first-ever STEM Weekend. The free event is targeted at students from those schools but is open to others. The district is funding the event with its School Improvement Grant.
Registration is available online at albionpublicschools.net through Monday, though Raddatz said the district would likely accept walk-ins as space allowed. Only about 60 kids had signed up as of Tuesday, and Raddatz said he had plenty of room left for more participants.
Students will go to the school at 225 Watson St. on Nov. 1 and spend the night at the school, with entertainment provided.
On Nov. 2, they’ll awaken and be greeted with 11 possible labs in which to participate over six hours. Some will learn to extract their DNA and analyze it, while others will build a model rocket. Some will build bridges and, with guidance from a Michigan Department of Transportation official, test how much weight the bridges can hold.
Some will collect bacteria from around the school and analyze it, while others will dissect owl pellets. Others will help build the school’s new 3D printer. What an amazing idea to implement STEM Teaching Tactics.