Wheatland Center School students participate in 2018 Spring STEAM challenge

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Wheatland Center School students participated in the school’s Spring STEAM challenge Friday.

From a news release from the school:

Wheatland Center School students participated in the culminating activity for their month-long Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) Challenge on Friday.  Megan Zirbel, Wheatland’s science teacher and STEAM coordinator, organized and planned the event. Elementary students were tasked with using a fixed set of materials to build the longest bridge that could support the most weight. Middle school students created an apparatus that launched a tin foil ball into a receptacle they had to create with specific materials. Students worked in groups to create their masterpiece and had classroom competitions to declare a winner. They were then celebrated at the March 23 PBIS assembly, and the middle school students battled it out in front of their classmates to determine a winner. Students were responsible for creating a plan, testing it and then documenting the process through a project record book. The results were judged based on several specific criteria, and a panel of judges assessed their record books which described what they learned and how they went about the entire process. “The Spring STEAM challenge was a great opportunity for our students to be fully immersed in the design process and engaged in the curriculum.,” Zirbel said. “There was a high level of excitement from students of all ages as they worked in teams to accomplish a common goal. As a teacher that loves science, it doesn’t get much better than that.” Wheatland has been a Project Lead the Way Middle School and an Engineering is Elementary School for over six years and was the first in the area to implement a STEAM curriculum 4K-8. Several teachers at each level have received extensive training in these engaging project-based curriculums. Students use the design process to investigate real world careers in a collaborative and dynamic way. Wheatland offers students the following PLTW Gateway Courses as part of the overall science curriculum: Design and Modeling, Energy and the Environment, Flight and Space, Science of Technology, Magic of Electrons, and Medical Detectives. Wheatland will also be adding Green Architecture to the Art Curriculum next year to expand out Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics offerings. In addition, Wheatland also offers a computer club that attracts over 40 students two nights per week, and a Lego League for elementary students and middle school students wishing to design and compete at a local and state level. “The Wheatland J1 School District uses science as a thread running through all we do,” Drew Halbesma, Wheatland principal said. “It is our hope that students who may not have traditionally engaged in science will find it interesting and exciting and it will ignite a spark that leads them to additional opportunities in the future.” As part of Question 2 on the upcoming April 3rd ballot, the District seeks to renovate the current facility to create a new science lab and a shared space to support hands-on learning. In addition, it asks taxpayers to renovate the former middle school cafeteria to become a STEAM classroom and Community Maker Space. The improvements would provide the updates and expanded space needed to implement world class STEAM opportunities for Wheatland Students.

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