Whether exploring ways to save the playground from erosion or educating their neighbors about the Zika virus, King Springs Elementary students are developing key problem-solving skills.
The school staff spent the past five years implementing a new approach to teaching and learning with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). As evidence of King Springs’ success incorporating STEM into the classroom, the Cobb County School District recently declared the elementary school STEM Certified.
STEM teacher, Joannah Shoushtarian, led the certification effort. Together with a cohort comprised of representatives from each grade level and administrator Laura Meyer, the King Springs STEM team completed the CCSD STEM Innovation Academy. The Academy is a training program for teachers in STEM education and problem-based learning. Another group of King Springs teachers are currently working through the Academy. Once finished, they will further boost the school’s STEM-focused culture.
From kindergarten through fifth grade, the King Springs students already use the engineering design process to solve STEM challenges by following a series of methodical steps. Students have learned about 3-D printing and drones and have participated in programming activities. The STEM events take place inside and outside the classroom and include STEM/career days, science fairs, Science Olympiad, Robotics Team, Chess Club and the Junior Master Garden Club.
King Springs principal, Linda Keeney, gives parents credit for the school’s success with STEM.
“Our parents have given sacrificially of their time and resources to ensure that our entire diverse population has the opportunity to benefit from this rigorous, engaging approach to learning,” Principal Keeney said. “Parents have volunteered, written grants, found community partnerships and given funds for iPads, training, presentation and just about anything we needed to make learning more meaningful for our students.”