Tiger STEM Newsletter - OCTOBER 2021

Science - Technology - Engineering - Mathematics

Becoming a STEM Certified School

STEM School Certification is a rigorous and multi-step process. While there are many components to the Indiana Dept. of Education (IDOE) STEM certification application, much of the evidence required for submission come from four Domains. They are:

  • Domain 1 - Culture
  • Domain 2 - Curriculum
  • Domain 3 - Instruction
  • Domain 4 - Partnerships

In STEM, Culture is defined as the way teachers and staff members work together and the set of beliefs and values they share.

For this component of STEM certification, IMSA West will demonstrate a collaborative approach for decision-making in implementing STEM and receiving feedback from the staff on the STEM program.

Common work time is provided to teachers so they may plan for STEM learning opportunities and work with teachers across content areas to provide connections for student learning.

Equity is crucial for a strong STEM program and our goal is for 100% of our IMSA West students to participate in STEM instruction and programs at our school.

STEM is all about being creative and innovative (thinking outside the box!), problem-solving (not just math problems!) and understanding the world around them - all skills and habits of mind that are essential for life and the workplace.

To support STEM at home, check out these links!

DISCOVER Engineering - activities to do at home

TED-Ed - A great site for students to explore areas of STEM interest

Imagine the possibilities with STEM! (Lindenwood Univ video)

Big picture

Eli Lilly Day of Service

In September, Eli Lilly volunteers visited IMSA West and shared their time to help in classes. Students enjoyed sharing their projects and demonstrations for the volunteers!

In 7th grade volunteers helped students during the mummy presentation and asked students questions and provided feedback on student projects. The 8th graders did a demonstration on how matter undergoes physical changes with the addition/loss of heat energy. Students observed the three phases of water. In 6th grade the Lilly staff demonstrated energy flow within an ecosystem.

Each class had an opportunity to ask the Lilly volunteers MANY questions about their jobs and science. It was an informative and inspiring day for both students and the volunteers!

Eli Lilly Company Facts for Kids

Photo Credit: Ms. Sondra Harris, 6-8 Science

1st Grade - Animal Adaptations

First grade teachers Ms. Leary and Ms. Allen guided students through a science experiment involving bird beaks in which students used the scientific method to answer the question; "Which bird "beak" would be best adapted to pick up different shaped "food"? The students first predicted which "beak" (a spoon, tweezers, or clothespin) would be best to pick up different "food" (marble, straw, toothpick). Students made observations and evaluated their results. Students had to collaborate and take turns using the "beaks". Ms. Leary notes the students worked well together and enjoyed the activity!

For a short video on animal adaptations, click HERE!

Photo credits: Allen and Leary

It's Electric in 4th Grade!

Ms. King reports that the crew in 4C planned and constructed a string of lights using parallel circuits. We just finished up our investigation into energy and circuits in which students constructed different series and parallel circuits to discover how energy is transferred and which materials conduct or insulate electricity.

Think about holiday lights...which is better to have; lights on a series circuit or parallel circuit? Why? Watch the video below (3rd photo) to find out!!

Photo Credit: Ms. King, 4/5 Science teacher

6-8 News!

Sixth grade just finished their owl pellets lab (Coughing up Clues). Owl pellets can This activity is their introduction to food webs and energy exchange through an ecosystem.

The seventh graders are using their knowledge gained from their mummy project (see last month's newsletter) to create a full scale mummy today.

The eighth grade modeled atoms using M&M’s. They are also going to make colonial cookies (social studies connection!) to learn about colonial cooking and the differences between chemical and physical changes.

What are owl pellets? Click HERE!

How are mummies made? Click HERE!

What is a recipe for Colonial Cookies? Click HERE!

Photo Credit: Ms. Harris, 6-8 Science

New Teachers and Instructional Coaches

IMSA West continues to build a strong team of educators who love the profession, helping students, and who are lifelong learners. Over the next couple of months we'll be introducing the new members of the IMSA team.

Also, to better support building the instructional capacity of our teachers, IMSA West now has two instructional coaches (K-2 ELA/Math; K-8 Math). Instructional coaches partner with teachers to set instructional goals, review data, intentionally plan lessons, and provide ongoing job-embedded support to meet school and district goals.


We'll share about Domain 2 - Curriculum, part of earning our STEM certification process!

Meet Ms. Rhodes - 2nd Grade