National PTA has recognized both Peter Kirk and Norman Rockwell Elementary schools as 2021-2023 Schools of Excellence.
If you can dream it, you can build it - LEGO STEM series “Build to Launch” comes to Thoreau Elementary
Throughout November and December, about 50 fourth-grade students at Thoreau Elementary explored the world of engineering and the Engineering Design Process (EDP) using the LEGO STEM series “Build to Launch.” This series allowed students to work on many different skills, all while playing with LEGO sets. They worked on communication skills by creating directions for a robot. They also learned about moon landing mission Artemis and the Space Launch System (SLS) from NASA. Through this series, students made career connections to the human forces behind space programs and built skills to work independently and in teams.
Using personal LEGO sets and contributions from the community, the school was able to provide small kits of random LEGO pieces to students. This allowed them to learn while playing and to be creative through fun lessons with engaging videos and activities to design and build unique lunar vehicle prototypes. Students worked through the EDP to understand problems, create ideas, design prototypes, build and evaluate their design, and proudly share their creation with the class.
The idea was presented to the school as part of a professional development project by a parent at the beginning of the school year. Teachers welcomed the idea and worked together to make it happen. Students were excited about this unique learning opportunity. The excitement was reflected in their journals and conversations, showing students that effort and collaboration positively impacted each student’s learning and their desire to continue exploring the world.