RSM Receives Record Number of STEM Programs

RSM Receives Record Number of STEM Programs
Posted on 05/09/2020

Remsen St. Mary’s Schools has been awarded nine STEM programs through the Iowa Governor’s STEM Initiative for the 2020-2021 school year.

The award committee received over 148 requests from schools, libraries, museums, and other organizations from the Northwest Region alone. Mary Trent, Northwest Iowa Regional STEM Manager, said “they appreciate the STEM applications because it shows your school’s initiative to explore new STEM opportunities with your students” that will “have a lasting impact on the future of Iowa.”

Three teachers at the lower elementary level each received the STEM in Action course and the Pint Size Science program. This allows the teachers to collaborate to acquire six different sets of materials that focus on the Engineering Design Process and science exploration kits. Kindergarten teacher Vicki Heeren coordinated the elementary’s application process.

“The governor's initiative to incorporate STEM into the classrooms statewide is a great advantage for our students,” said Mrs. Heeren.  “My kindergarteners thrive participating in the hands-on activities and learn so very much about science, technology, engineering and mathematics. They ask more questions and are getting better at communicating and problem solving. I love the learning that STEM helps our students discover for themselves.”

Late last fall, the lower elementary teachers applied for and received an additional STEM program for Differentiated Math Centers. Now, the middle school has also been awarded this program. Each activity is standards-aligned, hands-on, and includes assessments and skills practice.

With the last two awards, St. Mary’s will be adding robotics to its STEM offerings. Students will be able to learn introductory programming and engineering skills with a snap-together VEX Robotics System designed from the ground up. Grades 5-8 will have the VEX IQ Challenge and grades 9-12 will have the VEX V5 system.

“The VEX robotics will add a hands-on dimension to our computer science program,” said Mrs. Kris Full, computer science teacher. “Students in the Computer Science Discoveries class were introduced to physical computing with a circuit board this year, so the VEX robotics will build on that experience.”

Teachers will virtually attend professional development training throughout the summer in order to be able to implement these new programs starting next school year.

 Kindergarten STEM
 KyLeigh Pottebaum and Francis Cronin learn to use Blue Bots to practice coding and practice directional commands.
CSD Circuit Board
Austin Schwickerath uses Maker App, a block-based programming language, to send commands and receive output from the Adafruit Circuit Board during Computer Science Discoveries class.