Kindergarten and first grade may sound too soon for STEM activities, but early exposure is the key to unlocking a student’s curiosity and sparking a lifelong interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. At Catalyst Academy, every day of the week we are using STEM activities to help our scholars understand how the world works, and to encourage problem-solving and creativity that will benefit them in all areas of study.
What does STEM look like at Catalyst Academy? It looks like FUN!
Kindergarten scholars recently engineered a way to protect a mini skateboard from being blown away by high winds in their Weather Hazards unit. They brainstormed and drew their designs, then worked in teams to build it using only the provided materials such as recycled items, cups, and pipe cleaners. They finished the project by turning on a high-powered fan to test if their skateboard was protected. Every aspect of this project challenged our scholars to practice their developing skills of analysis, planning, and teamwork. Of course, they thought they were just having fun!
In first grade, our scholars turned to the natural world to explore what and how animals eat. Scholars researched the animal traits of carnivores and herbivores and made different kinds of teeth to eat meat or grass. Students used craft sticks and playdough to “chomp” through Styrofoam and paper scraps to see which worked better. Understanding how the natural world works is becoming increasingly important as humans, technology, and nature intersect with increasing frequency. At Catalyst, we are preparing even our youngest students to understand and achieve in the world they will live in.
Physics, architecture, and geometry are advanced concepts, but the products of those concepts are everywhere, from the buildings we learn in, to the cars we drive in. Catalyst students are discovering this through experiential learning; they are building structures using cups and learning to create a stable base if they want their structure to reach new heights. They also watched a video on the fastest cup-stackers in the world, in the sport known as speed stacking, which led to practicing and timing themselves stacking their own set of cups!
It is a marvel how fast technology is developing and the opportunities it will present to our students. Teaching our youngest students the fundamentals of technology is crucial at Catalyst. Much like we sing the ABCs to eventually understand how to read words, our students sing their 1s and 0s in a song about binary coding to eventually understand the language of technology. Their first adventure in programming is with BeeBots, small robots that look like bugs. They work in teams to program BeeBots by pushing a sequence of buttons to get to their destination, making the BeeBots move down the street, over to a certain color or fruit, or collide with another BeeBot. Whichever direction their BeeBot moves in, they accomplished it by using the skills of collaboration, debugging, and problem-solving.
Catalyst Academy students belong to a unique school community that is teaching and encouraging growth in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The modern world calls for people who can think creatively, communicate well, and solve big problems. Catalyst students will be those people and achieve things we are only dreaming of now. Join us at Catalyst Academy, we are enrolling now!
Catalyst Academy Charter School’s mission is to prepare all students for college, career, and life. Catalyst Academy Charter School’s core values of Belong. Grow. Achieve. reflect the school’s deep commitment to cultivating an inclusive supportive school community where everyone – children and adults – is focused on learning every day, in order for all students to define and achieve their dreams. Catalyst Academy Charter School’s education model is designed to close both the achievement and opportunity gap. The approach couples rigorous core academics with a broad offering in the arts and sciences. Students will experience STEM learning daily and arts programming four days per week. Enroll your Kinder, first or second grader today!