Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Building on last year’s success with the integration of the STEM and science curriculum in the fifth grade, SAR Academy is committed to further strengthening the STEM opportunities provided to its students. In addition to science and math classes, fifth graders were excited to hear that they would have two dedicated STEM periods per week in their schedule this year. During this dedicated time, they will be rotating between three specialists, each focusing on a different area of technology and engineering. This new program ensures that each student will engage in a variety of activities while building skills in different areas, meeting various students’ interests and talents. When working with Rivka Heisler, lower school STEM coordinator, students will combine coding, engineering and robotics to create motorized objects controlled by code using technologies such as Scratch, Microbits, Makey Makeys, EV3 robots and more. 

Hallel Walker, SAR fifth-grader, shares, “It is fun to code even if it is challenging.” Hallel also participated in a parent-child Rosh Hashanah coding workshop held at SAR and enjoyed sharing this extracurricular experience with her mom. Students working with Renata Cohen, STEAM specialist, began with a curriculum from Technokids in which students explore Google sheets and graphs to gather, analyze and represent data to make recommendations that will help improve sales for a fictional business. Alex Hochstadt, another SAR fifth-grader, admits that he enjoys the independence they were given when tasked to find teachers and students to provide data by answering a survey for their “business.” 

Other units during this rotation will include graphic design using Adobe Photoshop as well as 3D design. Chaim Sandler, lower school science teacher, will guide the students through various hands-on curricula from EIE (Engineering is Elementary), which allow the children to engage in the engineering design process. Corresponding to their space science unit, students will begin by experimenting and gathering data that will help them to design and build functional rockets and rovers. Fifth-grader Sammy Gissinger reports that he looks forward to the last period of the day, enjoying the hands-on building, designing, and testing. Dr. Chaya Fine, director of the STEM initiative for SAR Academy, is amazed to see the active engagement and the students’ ability to share what they are learning in a meaningful way as she observes them in action! SAR looks forward to a wonderful year of engaged, motivated and excited learners!

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