Tuesday, November 1, 2016

STEAMing outdoors...

It's the first of November and the weather is still warm enough and dry enough that I am able get students outdoors for activities.  Granted, I think that it is (almost) never too cold to take students outside if they are dressed properly, but wet weather makes it difficult to do outdoor projects - especially when papers must be completed.

Yesterday, I met two 4th Grade classrooms at Vowles Elementary to do a forest ecology activity.  Vowles is fortunate to have its own small woodlot right next to the school.  Unfortunately, it doesn't get utilized - for most students, this was the first time they had ever entered it.

Officially this is the McNeel Weber Woods

The woods is surrounded by chain link fence with a single entrance.

The trail into the Vowles woodlot

A big push in academics right now is STEAM education - formerly known as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), but with the addition of Art.  Many conferences and workshops focus on how teachers can incorporate STEM/STEAM in the classroom.  The activity that I had students engaged in incorporated several different aspects of STEAM. 

Science - Students identified and described the leaves of various species of trees.
Technology - Students used calculators to perform difficult (for 4th Grade) math problems.
Engineering - Ok, nothing about this activity was engineering.
Art - Students not only had to identify and describe leaves, they also had to make detailed drawings.
Math - Students measured the circumference of trees and used that data to calculate diameter

Measuring circumference of a tree


Working out the math...

Calculating diameter
The Art and Science of leaf identification

Two groups of students draw and identify leaves

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