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Welcome to DCS STEM!

Welcome to the DCS STEM homepage.

On this page, you can learn about STEM class, see student projects, and discover what students in different sections of class are exploring.

Take a look at our class principles below -- these ideas guide our work in all of our STEM activities.
Recent posts

Pre-K Creates Pet Rocks!

After spending two STEM lessons learning about and practicing classifications of rocks -- boulders, cobbles, pebbles, and sand -- PreK students found cobbles outside of our school building. Students then applied their design skills by painting and decorating their cobbles to create pet rocks. 

Kindergarten Engineering: "The Napping House"

This week, kindergarten students participated in an engineering challenge connected to Audrey Wood's story The Napping House. In the story, a variety of people and animals pile up on a bed in a "napping house, where everyone is sleeping." After reading the story together, students were tasked with designing a bed out of clothespins and popsicle sticks that could successfully hold all of the characters from the story up off of the ground. Take a look at their creative responses to this challenge!

Exciting New Tool Coming to the STEM Lab!

This week, we learned that our STEM program received a grant from the Lowe's "Toolbox for Education" program that will allow us to add a laser cutter to our STEM lab next year. This tool will be a powerful way to help students bring their creations to new heights!

Our laser cutter/printer will allow our students to create digital designs that can then be engraved or cut into a variety of materials, including wood, cardboard, and fabrics. Possible applications include designing parts for recycled racers, creating custom pieces for student inventions, and cutting holes into materials with increased accuracy. Along with our 3D printers, this new tool will allow our students to engage with cutting-edge digital fabrication technology that will empower them as makers and designers.

Link to Glowforge Introductory Video

4th Grade Experiments with Wheels and Axles

For their last major STEM project of the year, 4th grade students are designing vehicles from recycled materials that they will use in a Recycled Racers Rally. In preparation for creating their cars, students tinkered with a variety of materials to develop an understanding of how to assemble an effective set of wheels and axles. During this lesson, students practiced our STEM mindset of "Imagine Possibilities" by exploring multiple ideas and looking for creative ways to combine materials.

3rd Grade Lights LEDs!

This week, third graders began a study of circuits and electricity. During the first part of class, students had to figure out how to light up an LED using a coin cell battery and two alligator wires. It was very exciting when the bulbs turned on when our circuits were properly completed!

In the second part of our exploration, students used their alligator wires to test various materials to determine whether they conducted electricity. We found that craft sticks, magnets, string, and rubber bands did not allow electricity to flow through, but pipe cleaners did complete the circuit. Finally, students roamed the STEM lab looking for more materials that would complete the circuit when they were incorporated into it.

In future explorations, we'll be working on creating circuit sculptures using conductive dough.

Family Engineering Night!

Despite some late-season snow, we had a great turnout on Tuesday night for our first annual Family Engineering Night. Participants rotated through 12 stations throughout the evening, each of which challenged families to build, create, and explore STEM concepts. 
Check out some photos of the fun-filled evening below.

Ship the Chip Engineering Challenge

Our third grade students spent their time in STEM class this week creating a package that would protect a single Pringle chip on its journey from our school to Mast Landing Elementary School in Freeport. In a previous lesson, we learned about package engineering and the importance of considering sustainability as we devise ways to transport products in a safe and environmentally-friendly way. As a result of this learning, a constraint in our "Ship the Chip" challenge was that packages could only contain sustainable materials, with the exception of 12 inches of masking tape.
Our packages are now on their way to Freeport and the STEM teacher there will soon let us know about the efficacy of our packaging!
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