“How did you spend your winter break?” That question will no doubt be heard in classrooms across the state as students return to class. (Most return Monday, Jan. 12, or Tuesday, Jan. 13. Check with your school for start date.)
But for 90 students at Momilani Elementary, the answer would be, “I went to STEAM camp.” (That's STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.)
Thanks to a partnership with the educational arm of the Navy’s SPAWAR (Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command) and the guidance of state resource teacher Karen Umeda, the camp was held Jan. 6-8, and lasted for four hours each day. It was conducted by 10 Momilani teachers who gave up their time over the break to develop a lively, interactive, fun and engaging camp to teach students the engineering design process while experimenting with STEM practices, and to encourage deeper thinking by working alongside professional engineers.
Each grade level worked on a different type of project with third graders becoming “Momilani Test Pilots” by engaging in activities and projects to develop an understanding of the forces of flight. The students got to engineer their own aircraft using a variety of materials.
Fourth graders spent their camp learning to “engineer” their own ice cream by learning the science involved. They engineered the treat AND its container.
Fifth graders engaged in “The Solar Race,” learning how to harness the sun through various interactive games. At the end of camp, they engineered their own solar-powered car.
Sixth graders spent camp learning about rockets for their project, “3…2…1…Blast Off Rocketry.” Students examined the factors and forces affecting the flight of a rocket, then engineered their own “soda-bottle” rocket.
All students then worked on Game Development – learning visual programming skills and engineering processes that go into developing video games.
“I think everyone involved with this camp walked away pleased with their experience,” said Momilani Vice Principal Garrett Arakawa. “The students learned in a different way, brainstormed ideas, and were able to implement their own thinking through the engineering design process. The teachers deepened their understanding of STEAM teaching and learning, and implemented units they designed through collaboration with their peers and STEM professionals. The engineers left tired ... with a renewed respect for teachers.”
STEM curriculum has seen a dramatic rise over the last five years at Department schools. Statewide, science proficiency on assessments has jumped from 33 percent to 41 percent over the last two years, reflecting a strong focus on STEM-related curriculum and activities in the schools. See our STEM page for more information. (Below, Momilani's flyer for parents.)