Bucyrus fifth grade holds STEM extravaganza

Fifth graders at Bucyrus Elementary discovered, built and created during their STEM Extravaganza on Oct. 3. STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines —
science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.

Michelle Vance, the gifted intervention specialist and STEM coach for the district, said the Extravaganza was the culmination of six weeks of STEM lessons with the fifth grade. She said the fifth-grade team was discussing what kinds of STEM lessons they wanted to incorporate into their subjects. “Then they said, ‘How about we do a whole morning where the kids rotate from station to station doing different STEM activities?’”

The teachers created five different stations for the students to explore: building a mini pumpkin launcher, mixing up oobleck, building teepees out of tape and newspaper, cutting a paper chain from a single piece of paper, and learning coding on a coding website.

In the weeks prior to the big day, teachers prepared the students with vocabulary lessons, books and other instruction. For example, the teepee project came after weeks of learning about Native Americans and their way of life in their social studies class.

To kick off the Extravaganza, students attended an assembly where they read the book, Rosie Revere, Engineer, and discussed how to incorporate STEM into areas of life. The day after the Extravaganza, as a follow-up, students completed reflection sheets and other worksheets, explaining their projects and their thought processes.

“What excites us [as teachers],” said Vance, “is that this has taught the kids to work in groups, to really collaborate. They think out loud and it’s just fun to stand back and watch them.”
What excited the kids was the hands-on learning. Rashaad Allen, a student, enthusiastically endorsed the STEM Extravaganza. “It has been amazing. I hope this isn’t our last STEM Day and I hope we get to do it again.”

For more information, please contact Michelle Vance at mvance@bucyrusschools.org.