Dear TPS Families,
As you may already be aware, building STEM/STEAM competencies is an important goal for our school this year. Over the next several weeks, students and teachers at Thomas Prince will participate in several exercises to better understand these concepts and to reflect on how they perceive these skills in themselves. We are excited about this process!
As part of these activities, later this month, students in grades 3-8 will be asked to complete an online questionnaire that encourages them to reflect on their own mindsets and approaches to learning. Their teachers will also complete similar questionnaires.
It is our goal to help students and teachers learn more about themselves and how they learn best by completing this process.
If you have questions about this process or if you’d like to learn more about how these activities help meet our 2017-18 goals, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your ongoing support of your student(s) and of our school.
Tammy E. Boyle, Interim Principal
JUNE 9, 2017
From the Classroom, Thomas Prince School Sixth-Graders
Find Solutions to World Problems
as Part of National eCybermission Program
PRINCETON – March 2016 – Sixth-grade students at the Thomas Prince School are creating innovative solutions to problems such as water desalination and carbon dioxide “busting” as part of the school’s STEAM curriculum and the national eCybermission program.
Since November, students have teamed up to take on problems within a community – ranging from local issues to national and international problems – by brainstorming possible solutions and building a prototype of their solution. The eCybermission program teaches teamwork, design, and presenting a final prototype.
“The students seem to love working on teams,” said Amanda Martinez, who along with fellow sixth-grade teacher Kayla Spellane guided students through the process. “They were able to use their personal strengths, and bounce ideas off of each other throughout the entire process. It certainly took a great deal of cooperation and collaboration skills, but offered real-world practice and opportunities to have ‘teachable moments’ in those areas.”
Students had until Feb. 29 to complete the project, and had to fulfill a number of steps to make sure they were on track and moving toward a workable solution to the problem they identified.
First students created teams of three or four people, chose a team name, and worked on identifying characteristics of an effective team, and then identified their focus (environment, robotics or alternative energy) to work on the engineering design process.
Teams then identified their problem and created a concept map to understand the depth of the problem.
After considerable research, students had to brainstorm possible ideas, choose the best idea, and then figure out the best materials for the design and build a prototype along with a 2-D diagram. The prototypes were tested when possible, and projects were redesigned when necessary.
Once the construction was completed, students then needed to tackle the most critical part of the competition – communicating their steps and methods. They needed to deliver clear and effective written submissions to eCybermission judges, and also delivered presentations during a science fair-style presentation to seventh- and eighth-graders, during an event on March 1.
eCybermission is an initiative offered by the Army Educational Outreach Program, challenging students to explore how science, technology, engineering and math work in their world. The web-based competition is for teams in grades six-nine, and teams compete for station, regional and national awards.
About Thomas Prince STEAM Program:
In 2013, Thomas Prince School, a public K – 8 school in Princeton, MA began conversion to a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics)-based approach to education. STEAM-based learning fosters skills critical to success in the 21st Century, coupling logic and critical thinking with creativity and ingenuity, leading to innovation. The school is implementing the STEAM approach with inventive and integrated multi-disciplinary hands-on learning happening in classrooms daily. The TPS STEAM approach encourages students to discover and delve more deeply into their interests, and to find a place for themselves in the world, both in pursuit of careers and other endeavors.
PHOTO CUTLINE INFORMATION:
Faye Masterman, Laurel Mitchell, Sydney Zeena, and Olivian Darmanin, sixth-graders at the Thomas Prince School, present their robot designed to support struggling students in the classroom as part of the national eCybermission contest. Sixth-graders at Thomas Prince created teams to tackle problems facing their communities, the nation and the world as part of the contest.
Anna White, Alicia Garofoli, Avery Newell, and Emerson DiSalle, sixth-graders at the Thomas Prince School, present their Ocean Trash Bubble solution designed to stop ocean pollution as part of the national eCybermission contest. Sixth-graders at Thomas Prince created teams to tackle problems facing their communities, the nation and the world as part of the contest.
Sixth-grade students at the Thomas Prince School, including Luke Patton, David Deskins and Jake Dumas, designed an innovative, safer form of transportation that does not emit carbon dioxide as part of the national eCybermission contest. Their solution will also make trains run faster and more efficiently with the use of magnets. Sixth-graders at Thomas Prince created teams to tackle problems facing their communities, the nation and the world as part of the contest.