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01/16/2017

At Pond Cove School it's full STEAM ahead

At Pond Cove School, it's full STEAM ahead!

STEAM - the letters stand for science, technology, engineering, art and design, and math, are driving curriculum at the elementary school in a way that's "really cool," teacher and technology integrator Tom Charltray told members of the School Board at their meeting Jan. 10, 2017.

STEAM is reaching all of the school system's youngest learners, from kindergarteners working with Media Center Specialist Cameron Rosenblum, all the way up through the fourth-grade's application of STEAM concepts to the states of matter in the Maine literary classic "Blueberries for Sal."

"The first grade has done a STEAM shadow project, (and the) second grade has done two great STEAM projects including one around Halloween that was really really cool about monsters under bridges," Charltray said. Third-graders turned shortened staff-development days into "STEAM Mondays" and applied the disciplines to their Egypt studies as well.

To see more, see Charltray's twitter feed, https://twitter.com/PondCoveTech

Nowhere is the head of STEAM fuller than in the fourth grade, where 59 students (more than half of the grade) participate in a student "e Team," which Charltray said is becoming a right of passage. "The kids in third grade start talking about it, about February, about how excited they are to come and start being on the e Team." Participation has increased every year, said Charltray, who tries to accommodate every student who goes through the application process.

One of the e Team's responsibilities is the annual Coder Express event held at the school for students and their families. Here, Charltray said, students envision and organize events centered on STEAM. "This was our fourth annual, it was completely run by those kids from start to finish and it was amazing - they came up with the idea, they came up with the activities, they came up with the prize that was given away, they ran it all, they decorated it, they did everything," Charltray said. Some students arrived at 8 in the morning and didn't go home until after the event at 8:30 that evening, he said.

To further encourage STEAM, school officials are considering participating in the Red Sox organization's STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Education Day at Fenway Park in April. Activities include a wildlife exhibit and an egg drop from the Green Monster, as well as a Red Sox ballgame. The thought was to have the trip as a reward for the e Team, but School Board members said they would rather see the opportunity open to all fourth-graders.