The STEM special will begin on Monday, February 5 for students at all three KHPS elementary schools. Every elementary student, including students in kindergarten and K-Knights (also known as Young 5s), will receive 45 minutes each week of STEM instruction.
“Our vision is to be the most innovative, student-centered school district, and we believe this is another step in the pursuit of our vision,” said Superintendent Gerald Hopkins. “Our students deserve the highest level of engaging, hands-on and interactive instruction so that learning is memorable and prepares them for a successful future in college and/or career. In our STEM classrooms, students will work collaboratively, solving real-life problems and gaining important skills such as teamwork and project management, all while core curriculum standards in math and science are reinforced.”
Setting up STEM classrooms from scratch requires the purchase of full suites of equipment including electronic building blocks such as Snap Circuits and Little Bits, droid making kits, and even 3D printers. “We had to rethink and repurpose some of our existing grant resources to make STEM a reality at the elementary level,” said Assistant Superintendent Mike Burde. “Beyond this, STEM at the elementary level was made possible through the county enhancement millage. Community polling done by the Kent County Intermediate School District (KISD) prior to the enhancement millage election revealed the importance of this experience for students. The KISD has been a huge partner for us in this process, even providing STEM consulting so we can set up the very best program for our students.”
Delia Bush, who has been teaching at KHPS for 16 years, will be teaching STEM at Kenowa Hills Central Elementary. “What I am most excited about as we start this program next week is that I have the opportunity to help students develop collaboration and problem-solving skills while doing things that are just going to be fun,” said Bush. “I had an opportunity to show off some of our Little Bits to students, and their faces beamed when they completed a circuit and made it light up. That type of learning is memorable and creates a love for learning I hope they carry for the rest of their lives.”
Paige Carleton will be leading STEM classrooms at both Kenowa Hills Alpine Elementary and Kenowa Hills Zinser Elementary. Carleton has taught middle school science for the past five years. She has spent the last several weeks prepping two classrooms for this exciting and innovative new STEM learning experience. "I am most excited about the real life experiences Kenowa Hills students will have in the STEM classrooms," said Carleton. "For example, when they create circuits, they will be able to see how a flash light or speaker works and how the input controls the output. I am also excited for them to build! Students will get to experience creating something on paper, then on the computer and then be able to 3D print their creation! The technology and resources we were given for our classrooms are amazing and the students will benefit greatly."