Tiger STEM Newsletter - September 2021

We're Back!

While this year will not be without challenges, EVERYONE at IMSA West is excited to be back at school and able to engage in in-person, authentic learning experiences! As we continue our efforts in STEM certification by the Indiana Department of Education, we look forward to sharing some of the great things we are doing at Indiana Math & Science Academy!

Science - Technology - Engineering - Mathematics

The "M" in STEM

Last school year we shared information on the first three letters of STEM - we are now ready for the "M" in STEM - Mathematics!

Most of us think of addition, multiplication, subtraction, geometry, algebra, etc. when we think of math. But, there is much more to math than numbers; critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and perseverance are all skills that are crucial for success in math - and in life! Math learning in the classroom and effective logical thinking and problem solving in real life are very much connected! To better understand our world, run a business, and more - we need math!

Just as English is the language needed to read and write books, math is also a language and is needed to create new technologies and make new discoveries. Math literacy is just as important as English literacy. A strong math foundation needs to start as early as preschool and is crucial in the early elementary grades. Research studies have shown that early/basic math skills are the number one predictor of later academic success (Duncan, et al., 2007).

Granted, some students (and adults!) have some degree of "math anxiety", but with the help of parents and teachers together, we can support our students to actually learn to like, and even love math!

To better understand our world, run a business, and more - we need math! Let's help ALL our IMSA students have a growth mindset about math!

For more information on how to help students at home, click HERE.

For fun STEM math activities, click HERE!

Build your math brain at Math Playgound!

Bulletin Board photo credit: Georgia Ross, Instructional Coach

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IMSA West STEM Certification Update

IMSA West continues to work towards meeting all the requirements necessary to receive STEM certification from the Indiana Department of Education.

The Indiana STEM vision is that all Indiana teachers are prepared to provide every student in K-12 with evidence-based and effective STEM education by 2025. In achieving STEM certification, IMSA West will be recognized as a school that promotes real-world investigations and questions that equip students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers.

Click on the title for an informative TedX Talk on The Superpowers of STEM!

Back to (Middle) School! Grades 6-8

6-8 Science Review

Middle school science teacher, Ms. Sondra Harris, reports that with being back to in-person learning, all students have already had a chance to "do" science! Grades 6-8 participated in a lab to learn/review the scientific method. They observed a natural phenomenon - how water reacts on windows when it rains. They then conducted research to learn about adhesion and cohesion. Next, they developed a research question (Would soap affect the properties of water?) and worked in groups of four to test their hypothesis, collect data, and summarize their conclusions. Each group stays organized by having roles such as equipment manager, recorder, data collector, etc.

Adhesion/Cohesion activity

7th Grade Project Based Learning

Ms. Harris reports that 7th graders have started their Body Systems PBL as an introduction to the body. Group work is the norm with roles of manager, equipment manager, recorder, and human resource person. Students have been charged with reassembling their pharaoh (social studies connection) and are researching the body systems (skeletal, muscular, respiratory, etc)and explaining the function of each. To connect with social studies, they will research a pharaoh and write about the life and rule during their time and what happened to the pharaoh mummy.

Human Body Systems for Kids

Photo credit: Ms. Harris

Weather in Kindergarten

Ms. Mills reports that Kinder students are starting the year with PhD Science Module 1, which is all about Weather. Students watched a video on various types of weather and then engaged in discussions about shelters that would keep us safe in those weather situations. To demonstrate their thinking and learning, the class drew pictures of shelters.

Photo Credit: Ms. Mills

3rd Grade News

Third grade students practiced teamwork, communication, and problem-solving by creating Marble Runs. Students reviewed the definition of engineering and watched an introductory video about a marble run challenge. They drew designs and worked in teams to get a marble to travel around 4 desks or down cardboard tracks. Students had to work within design parameters and use only materials allowed. Ms. Smiley, 3rd grade science teacher, referred to the Indiana Science Frameworks to help guide the progress. There were some successes and failures with the Marble Run, but everyone learned from what went well and worked and what could be redesigned! Marble Run was a fun challenge to start the year!

For a video- click Marble Run Challenge

3rd Grade Teachers: Ms. Smiley, Ms. Marshall, Ms. Stover

Photo credit: Ms. Smiley

Welcome Ms. King!

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IMSA West welcomes Ms. Elizabeth King as our new 4th/5th science teacher! Prior to becoming a teacher, Ms. King worked with children for many years as a counselor and assistant director at a summer camp. She is originally from Swarthmore, Pennsylvania (about 20 minutes from Philadelphia) and she received her undergraduate degree at Swarthmore College.

Ms. King notes, " is what made me fall in love with learning and I am so excited to be teaching at a school that provides so many opportunities for students to get involved in STEM fields and get excited about STEM!" Ms. King loves science because it is such an interactive field of investigation and states, "The best way to learn science is to do it!".

When asked what she would like parents to know: "I am so excited to be working with you and your children during the 2021-22 school year. I believe students benefit most when their instructors and parents have a working relationship that ensures they are being supported in the best ways possible. I will do my best to make myself available to you as well as your children."

Ms. King has varied interests outside education, including baking! During COVID she has tested her baking skills, with cinnamon rolls being a favorite she is trying to perfect. She notes that baking is a form of self-care, particularly during the COVID lockdowns, making her time feel more productive. Her self-care tip - find something small and easy to do that you find gratifying so you can always feel like you are accomplishing a task, no matter how small.

Ms. King would like to share the recipe she believes is the best cinnamon roll recipe so far - enjoy! Homemade Cinnamon Rolls {Cinnabon Copycat} | Tastes of Lizzy T

IMSA West is very excited to have Ms. King at our school!


We'll update you on the Project Based Learning (PBL) that have occurred during first quarter!