Montessori Matters

March 29, 2019

What is STEAM?

By Stephen Saunier

Many are familiar with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), which is a movement that has become increasingly present in education over the past several years. Recently, the focus has evolved to include the related Arts, taking STEM to the next level. STEAM allows students to connect their learning in these core STEM categories with art practices, design principles, and the humanities. This integration across the curriculum is an approach that allows students to wonder, critique, inquire, and innovate.

At Montessori School of Anderson, we feel that the STEAM curriculum fits firmly into our goals of educating the entire student. By integrating all of these practices together, we give a more whole and wide view of education. This allows the student room to explore their interests more fully and build education beyond the walls of each specific class. This past year, three of our teachers (Dr. Mahajan, Mr. Dabney, and Mr. Saunier) took part in STEAM training through SCISA and have been implementing this training on-site to implement a STEAM program. We have also begun the process of certification through SCISA and hope to become one of the first SCISA-certified STEAM schools this year!

The Middle School has put STEAM time into their weekly schedule, and it has been a tremendous success so far. Some of our projects have included building catapults to launch pumpkins, creating pan flutes using PVC pipes, engineering towers out of various materials, the Fluor volleyball challenge in which students constructed simple machines to launch a ball back and forth over a net, building aluminum foil boats, and many more. These projects have all focused on not only designing a solution but reflecting upon the designs and improvements that could be made in subsequent iterations.

In a cross-level STEAM activity, students in Lower Elementary looking to determine whether or not corn on the cob was alive planted a corn cob as an experiment to test their hypotheses. When, after a couple of weeks, the corn cob was covered in sprouts, the students wanted to test whether the sprouts were growing from the cob or the kernels. So, the students revised their experimental setup and involved Middle School students in the Technology Club in order to monitor the growth after planting a new corn cob. Eighth grader Daniel Keenan was able to configure a Raspberry Pi computer connected to a camera to record an image of the growth once every fifteen minutes and upload them to a Google Drive album for remote monitoring. Those images combined to make this great video showing the growth of corn and kidney beans over nearly three weeks in March.

Beyond our basic STEAM projects, we have also been working towards building a makerspace (a collaborative work space for engineering products using a variety of processes and technologies) at the school as well as various technology projects. Our students have participated in the Hour of Code, created their own virtual and augmented reality designs with CoSpaces, created interactive posters and video games with Scratch and Makey Makey, and coded robots to solve mazes and perform tasks. We feel that our increased STEAM integration will help bolster student involvement, and bring them to place where their education goes beyond just what they learn in a class -but how it integrates into real life, and can be applied to problems and solutions.
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Dates to Remember

April 6 - Strings Concert at Daniel Recital Hall, Anderson University, 10 a.m.

April 11 - Barbecue and Lower Elementary Play

April 15-22 - Spring Break -- see note about schedule below

April 23 - Annual Report

Spring Break falls on April 15-22 this year. On Monday-Thursday, April 15-18 and Monday, April 22, all programs will be closed, but extended day will be available. On Friday, April 19, all programs will be closed and no extended day will be available that day.

Spring Benefit

Thank you to everyone who supported Montessori School of Anderson's 37th annual Spring Benefit and Auction this Saturday by planning and organizing the event, gathering, creating, and donating auction items, purchasing tickets and sponsorships, loaning, crafting, transporting, and setting up decorations, attending the event, bidding on and purchasing items, working and volunteering before, during, and after the event, and all of the many other contributions that made the event such a great success! We could not have done it without each and every one of you!

Music Is in the Air

We are pleased to announce that Mrs. Bethany Kern is joining our MSA community. She will begin teaching music across campus starting Monday, April 1. We are excited about the skills, experience, and passion that she will bring to campus. Her bio and photo are provided so that you can get to know her a little better and give her a warm welcome when you see her on campus!
Bethany Sparks Kern, a transplant from northeastern Kentucky, is a graduate of Centre College with a degree in Dramatic Arts and English Literature, and has explored many facets of the fine arts, including violin, piano, voice, ballet, modern dance and theatre performance. In the last 10 years, she has enjoyed a career in nonprofit fundraising and marketing with a variety of arts and human service organizations, where she had the privilege of spearheading several youth and children’s programs. Bethany is active in the local Upstate community as a member of the Junior League of Greenville and a volunteer with The Warehouse Theatre and the Greenville Literacy Association. She lives in Greenville with her husband, Montana, and their pets, Vince (cat) and Parker (dog). Bethany is thrilled to be joining the MSA family and looks forward to a musical Spring!

Mock Trial Courtroom Journalist Competition

MSA senior Hallie Shuler placed first runner up in the state-wide High School Mock Trial Journalist competition from several weeks ago! Congratulations, Hallie!

Slime Mold

Our Upper Elementary students noticed something interesting growing outside their classroom this week. Taking advantage of the opportunity, they investigated the object and carefully gathered and brought samples of it back to the lab for closer observation under a microscope. They determined that it appears to be a slime mold commonly found on bark mulch after heavy rain.

Stamp Act

In Mr. Saunier's 7th grade history class this week, students were tasked with choosing the role of the British or the colonists and defending their chosen side's reaction to the Stamp Act in a debate, analyzing the causes and effects of the Act.
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Infant One

Our infants in Infant One got plenty of tummy time and sitting practice this week!

Creative Projects

Two of our Middle School students have been creative this week, bringing in 3D-printed objects from home and creating an automated plant watering device out of buckets and PVC pipe.

Track Meet

Our track athletes have been hard at work training for a track meet this coming Wednesday, March 3 at Southside Christian School in Simpsonville. Here are a few photos of our Middle School track members practicing this week taken by fellow Middle School student, Sidda Sharpe.
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Lower Elementary Mentors

Lower Elementary students enjoyed vocabulary-building works with their Middle School mentors this week. These shots were captured by some of our Middle School photographers.
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Primary Soccer Game

The two MSA-sponsored Primary soccer teams finished up their seasons this week with a game against each other on Thursday evening.
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Nurse's Notes

Safety Alert!!! Spring has sprung and there is a lot of joyful movement on our Montessori campus. For the safety of our many pedestrians, please reduce car speeds while on the MSA campus. Speed should be under 10 mph while on school property. Also, to keep traffic moving please do not park in front of the Main Office breezeway and leave your car unattended. If you have business in the office or in a classroom, please park in the lot. All visitors must register in the Main Office and receive a visitor pass. All carpool areas must be clear during arrival and dismissal times in order to expedite students' safe arrival and dismissal.

We appreciate your assistance with this matter.

With safest regards,

Susanna Merriman, RN

Spring Benefit Sponsor of the Week - Modern Woodmen

Thank you to our VIP Sponsor of the week for the Montessori School of Anderson Spring Benefit, Modern Woodmen! The Spring Benefit was a great success thanks to our generous sponsors like Modern Woodmen!
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Montessori School of Anderson

Our mission is to nurture the whole child, physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, preparing students for academic excellence, lifelong learning and responsible, caring lives.