A project based STEM class is fostering problem solving, team work, and collaboration among middle school students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
“It’s totally project-based,” explained Principal Caitlin Watson, “so a lot of times they are given a problem, and the kids need to work through the engineering design process to come up with a solution to that problem, and then present their findings at the end.”
STEM teacher Alexandra Markley was a student teacher at the middle school last year. She has a degree in elementary education and did not expect to be teaching a STEM class so quickly.
“That was my first experience with middle school, and until then I just assumed I would be elementary,” she said of her student teaching. “It never occurred to me that I would love junior high age as much as I do.”
The engineering design process was the focus of the first few days of her STEM class. That was when students learned that it is OK to make mistakes, a key component of project based learning.