Outlined against the early morning sky, the windmill stood tall over the farm. For centuries, windmills have been working to create electricity, pump water and grind corn or barley. Although an old idea, this is a new windmill. The technology used in developing windmills stands as a stark contrast to what we normally think of as technology.
At Columbia School District we focus STEM with positive up-to-date technology to prepare our students for the future. Our teachers work with their students using Smart Boards, iPads, Chromebooks, robotics, and 3D printers. These technology based items enhance the learning environment for our students and provide excellence in education.
Our focus on STEM helped form the basis for the Project Based Learning for our sixth grade students this year. The students worked closely with their teachers, Mr. Williams, Mr. Meschke, Mr. Learned, and Mrs. Friday. The students used research to learn more about their particular scientific issue and then formulated a solution for this scientific concern. One group of sixth grade students, Lorado, Savannah, and Izzy, used a video to present their project focused on garlic mustard, which is an invasive plant species in Michigan. Izzy said they learned that garlic mustard spreads very quickly and soaks up the nutrients essential to other plant life. She went on to mention that it prefers small clearings with sun and it pushes other plant life out of the area. This particular group of students completed a project based learning research last year as fifth grade students. They learned about mute swans, which are the big swans with the orange beaks. Their concern regarding the mute swans was that they are mean and attack other swans and even humans. Learning about science in the world around us helps support our students in preparing for life in the years ahead.
As our students move into junior and senior high school they have opportunities to increase their scientific knowledge. This year some of our junior high school students will have science electives along with robotics electives. The opportunity to learn fun science, do experiments and the basic elements of robotics enhances the academic environment for our students. As our students move into high school, they have the opportunity to continue their understanding of engineering through a STEM offering. This year, Mrs. Samson wrote a grant to Lowe’s and received two laser printers. It is amazing to see the students learn the principles of engineering and act upon their new understanding.
Columbia students have the opportunity to excel in mathematics through the combination of technology and math. Our youngest students work on math principles through their classroom assignments and investigations, then follow up with targeted lessons on iReady through their computer portal. Our older students may take Advanced Placement mathematics classes or math classes at Jackson College through our new Early College program. If you are interested in learning more about our STEM opportunities, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 5175926641.