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Kensal School Holds First STEAM Competition
Post Date: Apr 26 2018

By The Jamestown Sun
Following through on new curriculum design, the Kensal Public School held its first STEAM competition on Thursday.

STEAM (science, technology, art/design, engineering and math) is the method many schools are using as a 21st century school, said Amy Joseph, the Kensal school math, science and social studies teacher and STEAM coordinator.

"Every teacher at our school except for the preschool teacher have taken the STEAM curriculum course through Valley City State University," Joseph said. "We have benefited from that as there is a big push coming to incorporate experiential learning concepts through STEAM curriculum."

To help them put the new learning to practice, Joseph looked at STEAM competitions around the country and designed one for fifth- and sixth-grade students at Kensal school. From her research she created four activities for kids to perform in teams while parents and teachers cheered them on in the school gym.

The first is a breakout box, where the team solves math problems to reveal the numbers to a combination lock. The rocket challenge had students put engineering and design skills to work to make a rocket from PVC pipe and paper.

"The challenge is to ask yourself what the question or problems are and to imagine how to solve them and make a plan or a design that is created and tested in the next steps," Joseph said. "The last step is to improve or alter the rocket to make it more successful."

In the tower challenge, teams apply math and science skills to work materials into a tower. The bridge building challenge is similar in that students use match skills to shape a bridge out of existing supplies and use weights to find the load limits.

Kensal only has five students in fifth and sixth grade and so Pingree-Buchanan School brought over 13 students to participate, she said. The schools did not compete against one another but divided up into six teams of three students each, she said.

"The teams were named after famous scientists," Joseph said. "Team Newton edged out Team Curie in a tiebreaker for the championship."

Team Newton members included Kyle Johnson, Brock Jungels and Serenity Reynolds, she said.

Matt Lokemoen, principal of Kensal school, said the event is about encouraging students to become more interested in building problem-solving skills.

"The competition is another way to help kids think about how to problem solve," he said.

The goals of STEAM education are to help students become innovative problem solvers who work well independently and in teams, she said.

Kensal School Holds First STEAM Competition - The Jamestown Sun
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