STEM Parent Newsletter

September 2017

STEM Lab, 4 C's Lab, & the New STEM Menu

This year our teachers have the opportunity to choose from a STEM Menu of various activities that integrate science, technology, engineering and math. Teachers and their students will be regularly visiting the STEM and 4 C’s Labs based on their own individual class schedules, curriculum content connections, and interests. Teachers are also being encouraged to complete extension lessons in their classrooms based on the STEM challenges and educational tools we use in the labs.

STEM Twitter Accounts

To see some of the exciting STEM integration activities this year, please follow us on Twitter.


  • Ms. Dozier: @stemrootelem
  • Mr. Peterson: @RootITF

Kindergarten STEM

Kindergarten students learned the expectations for the using the iPads at Root. To help our new Root students remember the iPad expectations, we did a hand motion for each expectation. Then, with a partner, each kindergarten practiced a few basic iPad skills such as entering the "secret" passcode, opening and closing apps and the importance of the home button! They are ready and eager to begin learning on the iPads.

Grade K Computer Basics

Kindergarten students learned how to log into the computers in the 4 C's Lab using their new PowerSchools student IDs. They also practiced their mouse skills using the Starfall website.

1st Grade STEM

1st graders learned the expectations for using the iPads at school. Students tested each others’ basic iPad skills and then received their own iPad driver’s license! We also introduced our first grade students to Lego More to Math kits. Students built models using specific Lego bricks for each activity. They figured out the length of a Lego built snake by counting number of studs on their model. Students demonstrated understanding of math vocabulary through their lego models as well as understanding that numbers can be represented in different ways. Using legos during Math increases engagement and helps visual and concrete learners understand abstract math concepts better.

1st Grade Lego WeDo Kicker

Students in first grade worked in teams to build a model kicker using Legos and our WeDo Kits in the 4 C's Lab. Students first predicted how far their model would kick a rolled up piece of paper. They each took turns kicking the paper ball, measuring the distance, and recording their data. After all students kicked the paper ball once, teams were asked to make a team prediction based on the data they had collected and then kick the paper ball once more to test their final prediction.

2nd Grade STEM

2nd graders completed a back to school apple tower challenge using various school supplies. Working together as a team, students folded, shaped, and stacked materials together until their towers were stable enough to hold an apple at the top. Second graders also explored the effects of catalysts in a chemical reaction during an activity called Elephant’s Toothpaste. To make the toothpaste, groups of students mixed hydrogen peroxide, dish detergent and yeast together. The results caused a few shrieks!

2nd Grade Digital Citizenship

Second grade students reviewed the parts of the computer and learned the difference between computer hardware and software by watching BrainPop videos. Students then logged onto BrainPop in the 4 C's Lab using our school account (Username: wcroot, Password: brainpop) and tested their new knowledge by taking BrainPop quizzes.
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3rd Grade STEM

3rd graders explored making simple electrical currents on a piece of paper! Using copper tape, surface-mount LEDs and coin cell batteries, students explored how to make paper designs that have working lights in them. This was just an introductory lesson. Later in the month, students will use their new knowledge to design and create a light-up bookmark.

4th Grade Math Breakout

Fourth grade students worked in teams to try to "Escape from the Pharaoh's Tomb" by solving various math riddles and puzzles with 45 minutes. All the teams successfully completed the tasks, opened up all the locks, and "broke out" before the time was up.

4th Grade STEM Specials

We kicked off the 4th grade specials block with team building activities. First, students worked together to create tool that would help them them stack cups into a pyramid without touching the cups directly. Students learned quickly that working together with their team was the key to being successful. Next, students worked together in teams of three to create tinfoil boats. They tested different designs to see how many washers they could load without sinking their boat. Students had an opportunity to redesign their boats after learning a little more about what makes boats float. Students rotated job roles so that their teams worked together more effectively.

5th Grade STEM/Technology Specials

Students have been using Google Classroom to complete various assignments related to Digital Citizenship. These activities have included watching videos, taking quizzes, and playing educational games designed to teach and reinforce good digital citizenship habits. Students have also now created their own BrainPop accounts so that their teachers can give assignments through BrainPop and track student progress.
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5th Grade BYOD

Fifth grade students started bringing their own devices as part of our BYOD program. To learn more about our BYOD program visit the Root BYOD website.