SPARTA, NJ – With the help of a step stool, six Mohawk Avenue Students took the microphone to talk about their experiences in science. Principal Laura Trent introduced the student from Suzanne Nademus’ class who would be “sharing the exciting things they have been doing in STEM this year.”
Wearing white lab coats Cameron Donnelly, Nick Franconeres, Wren Novotny, Ryle Schmid, Sara Schwarz, Nate Stoddard took turns spoke about the processes they had been following using sophisticated scientific terminology.
They explained the process began with schema or organizing thoughts; preconceptions, framework, categories of ideas. Next came questions, then more questions. Discussions, trials, more questions and presentation.
The students identified problems then, using scientific method, developed solutions to overcome the challenge or problem they identified. The students explained discussion was an important part of the process. The students explained their “active conversation, respectfully giving opinions and recommendations” used phrasing such as “did you consider, I agree/disagree, what evidence did you use, can you prove this would work.”
In a lesson about magnets, they tackled problems such as falling water bottles, books that drop behind a night stand and noisy lockers. Tackling a unit on weather they developed ideas to mitigate hurricanes and goggles to protect eyes from ice and snow while shoveling, complete with "heaters and windshield wipers."
Trent said Science Supervisor Marisa Wilson assisted with the application of the curriculum in all of the third grade classes.
Later in his Assistant Superintendent’s report, Dr. Daniel Johnson said, “over the last three year we have worked very hard to get next generation science standards,” into the classrooms.
“The process of inquiry is a complete deviation from how we used to teach science,” Johnson said. “With all of the information available at their fingertips, we have to teach them how to think.”
“The Mohawk Avenue School students did a wonderful job sharing how STEM is incorporated in the third grade curriculum,” Trent said. “Mrs. Nademus and I are so proud of their presentation skills and poise at the Board of Education meeting.”