Systematic STEM skills for Shoreham-Wading River elementary school students

In an effort to enhance students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills, teachers at Miller Avenue and Wading River schools are working collaboratively to develop engaging science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities during STEM planning workshops.

The professional development days are led by Dr. Amy Meyer, the district’s STEM director, who plans and facilitates the meetings to give teachers the opportunity to discuss and strategize the elementary math and science curriculum, plan grade-level STEM challenges and map out the new science units aligned to the New York State Science Learning Standards.

During a recent workshop at Miller Avenue School, the teachers worked in groups of four to complete a challenge that they will eventually introduce to their students. Each team received a stack of plastic cups and rubber bands and were instructed to make a pyramid without touching the cups. The challenge was a simple and fun concept for the educators as they worked together to solve their problem. The idea is to build in students an understanding of how to tackle challenges methodically, modify ideas that may not work and help reinforce teamwork to make connections among engineering, science and math.