St. John School students in Grades 4 – 8 participated in a week-long STEM camp, sponsored by i2 Learning. The camp’s courses were taught by four St. John School teachers (Mrs. Karen D’Errico, Ms. Grace Miller, Dr. Anne King and Ms. Karen Shea) who received training over the summer.
The students spent five full days solving engineering problems in one of four courses: Contagion, Pandemic Response, Prosthetic Devices, Engineering Ice Cream, and Vertical Gardening. At the heart of i2 Learning, is the idea that real world problems are being solved by teams, not individuals; therefore today’s challenges require connections, partnerships and collaborations.
The curriculum was filled with hands-on activities which cannot be completed alone, and require students to incorporate elements of all four STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Innovation, creativity, and advancement were predicated on the student’s ability to take risk, fail and try again. The i2 Learning week encouraged our students to explore and experiment, to find those ways that will not work, and then get to their own “right” answer.
Our 6th – 8th graders were celebrating the end of STEM week with some ice cream in Christopher Columbus Park and shared their week-long learning experiences in the course Contagion: Pandemic response with Mayor Martin J. Walsh.
In case you were wondering what the Contagion: Pandemic Response course was about, our students were assigned the task of saving the world. I bet you didn’t know that last week, the Centers for Disease Control began to downsize their research department. The CDC contacted students at St. John School to begin to understand and conduct experiments to engineer an anti-viral to the SNMRV. It was very serious, as patients affected were very sick and the spread was aggressive. In one week, we had to identify the viral structure, make an anti-viral, engineer a pill coating tolerable to the stomach, and package the pills. After all our efforts, the virus excelled in to a pandemic, and we realized we had a mutant strain on our hands. Another anti-viral was generated, and tested. PSAs were made to make the public aware and response strategies set in to motion.
You should be VERY proud of our St. John School students as they saved the world!