S.T.E.M stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Hoffman-Boston’s has a school-wide STEM focus. On a regular basis, students engage in hands-on activities that lead to learning by discovery. Many of these hands-on activities will include engineering design challenges. Students are taught that “It’s the Process, not the Product!” This gives the students an opportunity to work at their level. It makes them more confident to take risks, and allows for perseverance! We believe that each student is fully capable of success both in and out of the classroom. Through the Digital Learning Initiative, our students in grades three through five, utilize iPads to enhance their STEM learning. Throughout their years at Hoffman Boston, our students develop an understanding of the Engineering Design Process (EDP). Students in Kindergarten and First grade, learn what STEM means, and develop an understanding of how their drawing can relate to something they created. In the early grades, the students work independently, on their level, to complete their challenge. In Second and Third grades, the students learn how to work through the Engineering Design Process through Project Based Learning (PBL). Students learn how to work in heterogeneous groups, and how to compromise. Students rotate through different jobs (team leader, materials manager, table police, quiet captain, and reporter). All of the students have the opportunity to be a leader in their group. In Fourth and Fifth grades, the students are able to work through PBL’s and challenges, with minimal support of the teacher.
Engineering Design Process:
- ASK How can I solve the problem?
- IMAGINE I can brainstorm possible solutions, and pick the best one.
- PLAN I can make a diagram, make a list of materials, and show how those material will be used.
- CREATE I can build a model that looks like my diagram.
- IIMPROVE I can test my model to see if it solves the problem. If not, I can find a way to make it better.
- REFLECT I can evaluate what I did, and share the results with others.