At the Monday, Dec. 18 meeting of the Osage Community School Board, students in kindergarten, third grade, and sixth grade demonstrated examples of STEM learning they have been involved in as part of the Spotlight on Education.

Using Code.org and their Beebot, a small robot shaped like a bee, the kindergartners demonstrated how they use the bot and coding in their practice of tricky words and site words.

Programming the Beebot to follow a route, sometimes direct and sometimes not direct, to reach the word on the floor mat that they are given,

The students pressed directional buttons on the back of the Beebot to navigate a floor mat to reach an assigned word. The directions, sent to the Beebot as programming codes, were erased prior to each child's turn. 

The mat and bot were purchased with a Shop on State grant, and each week, their teacher, Shelly Mohl, adds additional words.

“We started with just a few,” said Mohl, “but as the students came to recognize the words, I added more. Soon the mat will be full.”

In addition to the mat in the kindergarten classroom, there are several mats in the first grade classroom that were also purchased through grants. There is also a mat in the elementary school library.

Third grade

As part of Project Lead the Way, third-graders from Deb Hufftalin’s class studied modules for force and interaction. They previously designed and flew a glider; their current mission is to design a machine to lift a stuffed tiger who is stuck in a zoo exhibit.

“All of the lessons are accessed on their iPads,” said Hufftalin. “It’s teaching kids to listen and follow directions, while teaching them what a simple machine is and what it does, as well as how to work together as a group to accomplish a goal.”

In addition, the students used Autodesk publisher to make the three simple machines - pully, lever and incline plane - without verbal instruction. Along the way, they were required to talk about force and design principles.

“It’s a lot different,” said Hufftalin, “because I’m not up front teaching and they have logs to keep track of what they are doing.”

Sixth grade

For their part of the spotlight on education, Meaghan Johnson’s sixth-grade reading and English class used iMovie to produce a book trailer for “One Safe Place.”

“That book was chosen for it’s cover,” said Johnson. “And the students filmed on green screens and outside of the building. Sometimes we had three green screens going at once with kids divided up in different groups making their trailers. They used iMovie to edit and add in the music. What was really interesting was that they could only read so many pages a night, so they could come back the next day and talk about it.”

The purpose of the trailers was to encourage others to read the book while also teaching students steps of the filming and editing process. One group of students showed its trailer at the school board meeting and talked about their favorite parts of the process.

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