As we approach Spring Break it is time for us to celebrate a wonderful first six months of the 2015-16 school year! By working closely together our community has improved learning opportunities in Columbia Schools. Many of our positive improvements reside under the umbrella of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Teachers in grades four through eight have increased their hands-on science teaching by using new activities and strategies gained from work with the Battle Creek Math and Science Center curriculum. These new activities give students an opportunity to investigate, learn and reflect on science concepts. Our students understanding of science will also receive a boost during our Cranbrook family science night and through the Science Fair this spring. Students will have the opportunity to learn through participating in fun and interesting hands-on science experiments.
Our Columbia teachers have diligently worked together to improve math education by spending time aligning our curriculum, developing innovative teaching strategies and integrating new math techniques and skills. They also have participated in a unique opportunity to study math through a collegial professional learning community book study on “Number Talks: Helping Children Build Mental Math.”
Our students from grades three through eight have benefited by these advanced strategies and techniques. One of the opportunities to engage students through innovative strategies is the Michigan League of Academic Games program (MLAG). Columbia students have been working and learning math games that focus on computation, problem solving and set theory. Some of the participants attended the annual MLAG State Tournament and gained positive experience working competing against students from across the state.
Aligning with the STEM focus at Columbia School District, Columbia Upper Elementary has a Robotics Team through which students has an opportunity to use the engineering and math concepts they learn in the classroom and apply it to building a functioning robot. The students in robotics are given a challenge, so they build, program and operate their robot to complete the challenge. Under the guidance of Mrs. Eastman, students at Columbia Central Junior High School have enjoyed participating in an engineering class that integrates technology, math, and physics into the curriculum. Students have also enjoyed the STEM applications through our partnership with the Shop Rat Foundation and Consumers Energy.
To support our students in this very important area of STEM, our teachers have participated in afterschool programs K – 12. Columbia Central Junior High School teachers tutor students across the curriculum in their after school program and Columbia Central High School teachers support their students by providing expert assistance afterschool. Again this summer, we will offer programs focused on remediation at the high school level, team building for fifth through eighth grade students, accelerated math for students in seventh and eighth grade, and math games for third through eighth grade students. New this coming summer, Columbia Elementary students in grades K through 6 will have the option to participate in the Book Club or Robotics program!