Tiger STEM Newsletter - FEBRUARY 2022

Science - Technology - Engineering - Mathematics


Thirty-eight Indiana schools submitted applications for 2021-2022 STEM Certification review. Schools must earn points on various components of 4 Domains in order to move to the next step which is a site visit from IDOE.

Only schools receiving enough points are eligible for a site visit. A school must receive 57 out of a possible 75 points. IMSA West exceeded that minimum requirement by earning 67 POINTS! There are still a few areas that need fine-tuning and some additional documentation due to the Indiana Department of Education. On February 4th, we should learn the results of our most recent submission of documentation and hopefully begin preparing for a site visit in April - the final step in the certification process. Work toward STEM certification is very intensive and we appreciate the work everyone has done on IMSA's behalf!

STEM Certification - Domain 4, Partnerships

The final area of consideration for Indiana Department of Education STEM Certification is a Domain 4, school partnerships with outside business and agencies that help support the STEM mission.

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

Having business and community partners in STEM is a win-win for everyone. These partnerships can advance STEM interest and learning by creating new educational experiences for students such as business tours/field trips, career exploration, speakers in areas of STEM expertise, and the introduction of students to real-world applications oF STEM.

STEM partnerships can also provide valuable feedback on the school's STEM program. In addition, STEM partners can also be a great resource to help teacher learning as well!

When starting a STEM partnership, it's important for the school to:

  • Clarify goals of the partnership
  • Determine the needs of the partnership
  • Evaluate the partnership (how will we know it's successful?)
  • Determine activities in which partners will be involved
  • Work together and have strong communication
  • Sustain partnerships

IMSA West is fortunate to have a great start on STEM partnerships and we look forward to growing our partnerships to continue improving learning opportunities for our students!

We appreciate our partners...

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1st Grade Project

In December, Ms. Jones' first graders participated in a Build a Tiny House project. The PBL activity helped students make connections to math/measurement concepts and skills used in building homes. Students were required to collaborate, persevere in problem-solving, and apply math skills (area and perimeter). Students created 3D versions of a tiny house all of which required the same dimensions, but students were allowed to be creative with color, exterior designs, etc.

An example of discussions students had during the process was the importance of using the right amount of "mortar" (icing) to seal the bricks (graham crackers) on to the wall (milk carton) - What would happen if the mortar is too thin? Too thick? Students had a great time with this end of semester project!

2nd Grade PLTW!

Using PLTW (Project Lead the Way) lessons, students in Ms. Orebanjo's class learned about erosion and created models that would withstand wind, rain, ice, and earthquakes. In this current PLTW module, students are exploring how the surface of the Earth is always changing.

Students made predictions and worked in groups to test their ideas and then recorded their findings in their PLTW workbook. It was messy! It was loud! But, there was lots of learning and fun. Great participation by these 2nd grade scholars!

Career Exploration!

It's never too early to start thinking about the future! Students in grades 4 and 5 participated in career exploration activities in their social studies class. Through these activities, students improve their knowledge of career options, connect what they are learning to careers that interest them, and to learn more about what courses and subjects later on in school may help them prepare for a job in that field.

When students have knowledge of career options, they can begin setting goals and working toward making a career a reality. IMSA teachers and staff are here to support our students as they continue to learn more about career choices!

5th Grade Review Fun!

To review for an upcoming assessment, 5th grade students engaged in a Crack the Code activity to solve problems, get clues, and ultimately solve the riddle. This activity allowed students to collaborate in groups, talk about math, and have a little competitive fun as they learn about rational numbers!

Math Escape Room Challenge

Students in 7th grade solved multi-step equalities to move through different challenges of a digital "escape room". The escape room activity helped foster collaboration and communication among student groups. In addition to being a nice change of pace in the classroom, activities like this allow teachers to informally assess how students are doing on certain skills or concepts. Students had fun and Ms. Obranovich enjoyed it as well!

Middle School Science Updates!

Students are always busy learning in grades 6-8!

  • Sixth grade is still studying laws of motion and conducting a variety of investigations to advance their understanding.
  • Seventh grade finished their rocks and minerals unit and are moving on to learn about plate tectonics. To introduce this unit, students did demos of a volcanic eruption.
  • Eight grade is doing investigations to understand weather and air flow, how air flows over surfaces of different temperatures, and analyzing climate change data.

To LEARN MORE about plate tectonics, click on the BrainPOP icon below to watch a short video!


Photo credits for this issue:

Alicia Jones, 1st grade teacher

Sondra Harris, 6-8 science teacher

Georgia Ross, 3-8 Math Instructional Coach

Dawn Blanchard, Community Outreach Coordinator

Justin Kirby, K-2 Instructional Coach

Our next STEM newsletter will be March 2022

Watch for STEM Certification updates!!