Page 1 - TTWIWinter2024V2
P. 1

                                                                                                          Winter 2024, Volume 2
                                            WISCONSIN’S 4K–12 EDUCATION CONNECTIONTODAY                                               WI          ™

                       “I wish we could stay                                                  Finding a Signal

                       here all day.”                                                         Prairie School research team ventures
                                                                                              to remote forest in Costa Rica as part

                       STEAM at Southern Door Schools                                         of school’s first J-Term experience.
                                                            creativity,  and  chal-
                                                            lenge  themselves  to   Brendan O’Brien
                                                            think  critically  when   Director of Communica-
                                                            faced with frustration   tion
                                                            or failure.         The Prairie School
                                                                As   one    of     There is no hot water
                                                            Southern  Door  Ele-  at  the  Pacuare  Reserve  in
                                                            mentary’s third grade   Limon,  Costa  Rica.  No
                                                            classes  is  lining  up   electricity,  either.  Power,
                                                            and  ready  to  head   when required, is provided
                                                            out  of  the  classroom,   courtesy of a portable gen-
                                                            STEAM      Teacher,   erator.  Plastic,  well-used
                                                            Jessica   Meacham,   cutlery is washed in a rudi-
                                                            hears  a  student  say,   mentary basin where water
        Jessica Meacham                                     “I  wish  we  could   is channeled via an exposed
        Elementary STEAM Teacher, District   stay here all day.” This type of feedback is   network of PVC piping. In
           Media Tech (ParentSquare & Website),   common  from  Southern  Door’s  students.   small  bunk  rooms  black
           Social Media Coordinator, CTE Coor-  They visit the makerspace once a week for   netting  surrounds  each  bed,  a  preventative   hiked into the jungle to study the behavior of
           dinator, CTE Teaching & Learning   60 minutes to engage in STEAM challenges   measure easily defeated by the cockroaches.    local primates.
           Leader                           and activities. The main focus of their time   It was here 20 students and three teachers   “The students would time how long the
        Southern Door Schools               there is collaborative group work to identify   from The Prairie School, in Wind Point, Wis-  monkeys were doing certain things — eating,
            As one of Southern Door Elementary’s   solutions  to  real-world  challenges.  While   consin, had the January of their lives.   foraging,  grooming,  napping,”  says  Jean
        third grade classes is lining up and ready to   the end result might seem most important:   This  research  trip,  titled  Felines  and   Weaver, trip coordinator and Prairie’s Science
        head out of the classroom, STEAM Teacher,   a  solution  that  meets  the  client’s  needs,   Primates,  was  part  of  the  school’s  first-ever   Department Chair. “If you get glimpses of that
        Jessica  Meacham,  hears  a  student  say,   the  process  is  equally  important.  Students   J-Term experience, a new, between semesters   every day, that builds up to significant data to
        “I  wish  we  could  stay  here  all  day.” This   work to refine their communication skills,   program with a goal of exposing students to   understand them. If you can understand them,
        type of feedback is common from Southern   express  their  creativity,  and  challenge   topics that cannot be offered in the classroom   then you can protect them.”
        Door’s students. They visit the makerspace   themselves  to  think  critically  when  faced   while  providing  hands-on  learning  experi-  And this — the understanding and pro-
        once  a  week  for  60  minutes  to  engage  in   with frustration or failure.   ences with deep-dive focus.  tecting of the jungle’s inhabitants — is central
        STEAM  challenges  and  activities.  The   At  the  elementary  level,  the  Fab  Lab   Check and check.   to Pacuare’s work of ensuring a safe haven for
        main  focus  of  their  time  there  is  collab-  has  a  balance  of  non-tech  and  high-tech   Anyone  familiar  with  teenagers  under-  the wildlife, a treasure deserving of apprecia-
        orative group work to identify solutions to   tools.  From  cardboard  and  hand  tools  to   stands  the  things  capable  of  getting  them   tion.
        real-world challenges. While the end result   3D printers and laser cutters, students are   out of bed at five in the morning is . . . well,   “From the start it was clear Costa Rica
        might seem most important: a solution that   engaged  in  the  engineering  process  at  an   it’s not a long list. Turns out, however, that   has a very different mindset about the envi-
        meets  the  client’s  needs,  the  process  is   early  age.  If  you  ask  students  what  their   monkeys are one such motivator.  ronment  than  Americans  do,”  says  Weaver.
        equally important. Students work to refine   favorite is in the STEAM room, you’ll get   Every  morning,  their  path  guided  by
        their  communication  skills,  express  their                           wooden  railings,  their  bodies  protected  by
                                                          Continued on Page 9   long clothing and thick boots, the Prairie team   Continued on Page 4

                     thank you to our advertisers for your generous support!

                University of Wisconsin Stevens Point • University of Minnesota Duluth • University of Wisconsin Madison
                   STEM Shuttle/Dreamflight USA • University of Wisconsin Platteville • eCyberMission • Bellin College

                Big Systems • Northwood Technical College • Gateway Technical College • South Dakota State University
                                                Carthage College • Local Operating Engineers 139
   1   2   3   4   5   6