STEM Enrichment For All Program Expands Opportunities For Students
Students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade in the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District have been enjoying the new “STEM Enrichment for All” program, which gives students rotational access to a hand on learning experience in a Makerspace/STEM Lab. The new program empowers students through hands on exploratory learning, authentic research and discovery, and the nature of problem solving.
Students enjoy the program for increasing increments of time as they progress from kindergarten through fourth grade. Fifth graders enjoy the hands-on learning experience two days per week in either the spring or fall semester, with more advanced opportunities to learn robotics, engineering and more. The district now has a K-4 STEM Specialist and two Makerspace Facilitators who rotate amongst the elementary schools, and each middle school also has a dedicated STEM Specialist to facilitate the program.
On any given day, students can be found working on activities ranging from pseudocoding robots to building simple structures and beyond. Fifth graders have most recently been focused on coding a character to complete a challenge, with groups of students using different codes to achieve a common end result. Students will complete four different challenges during their time in the program, with their final task being to develop their own two player video game.
Students have described the classes as “fun and challenging” while feeling excited about seeing their projects function as they hoped. As students solve problems and see the results of their hard work through functioning robots or successful code, their excitement and creativity grow.
Third grade students work on coding to program a light up device.
Fifth graders worked on coding their characters.
Photos courtesy of the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District