Mr. Fred Wiechmann serves as a Science Resource Teacher for LCS. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every time I enter my classroom, “The Wonder Room,” I look at a poster to remind me of what needs to happen there. The script on the poster says this, “Wonder…Where Learning Begins.” Children seem to have this as a natural sense…maybe a “seventh sense.” Unfortunately adulthood seems to strip this away. Well, not with me! Having the opportunity to help our teachers enhance “science” allows me to keep my wonder alive. “Whoa!, Wow!, Isn’t that cool!, and Did you see that?” are phrases I use a lot as I have students engage with scientific inquiry and “design” thinking.
Many of the experiences in the Wonder Room introduce students to what The RISE Institute (Research, Innovation, STEM Learning, Entrepreneurship) has to offer students in 6th through 12th.
What happens there?
The room hosts many hands-on activities that put “wheels” on the science content they are learning in class. Most of the activities use a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) approach to the subject matter…creating learning which has a real life application.
Samples of Primary grade experiences:
- Recently, students in K4 observed the behavior of earth worms. Definitely “hands on!”
- Last week, kindergartners observed a SMART board presentation showing the different shapes of snowflakes…and they made their own.
- First graders were chemical engineers creating a new color for Creative Juice Company’s new Strawberry/Orange marketed for children their age. After market research of their top three choice, the most popular color was green!
- Second grade chemical engineers will rate the quality of commercial and homemade PlayDo and create a process to improve the homemade version.
Some examples of upper elementary STEM units:
- Third grade students were geotechnical engineers and tested different soil layer systems creating a bridge system across a river.
- Fourth grade recently finished an electricity unit…as electrical engineers they made series and parallel circuits and figured out how to add an alarm to the system.
- Solar Ovens were created by 5th graders as a part of their “energy” unit…they heated up S’Mores!
Another use of the Wonder Room is for Odyssey of the Mind Teams. This year we have seven teams preparing for regional competition February 15. These teams tackle technical or dramatic problems and create their own unique solutions which are presented in an 8 minute performance. They are no two solutions that look alike!
Just let me say in closing, my days are not boring…kind of like stacking marbles on a table top! I am extremely blessed to be able to serve the Lord in this way at LCS.