In the new Bexley Middle School STEM classroom, teacher Beth Bennett is excited to see students making connections daily between math and science. With the support of a 2014 BEF grant, 56 eighth grade students””divided into two sections””now have two hours daily to combine math skill-building with scientific experimentation in a renovated classroom that features a lab with SPARK handheld devices designed for data collection and analysis. It’s the integration of mathematical language and logic with scientific thinking that has Beth excited about the potential for the new class.
The combination seems to be sparking the students’ creativity as well. When planning the class, Beth hoped to incorporate a service learning component””and her hope is coming to fruition as students have already found an opportunity for such a real-world application. Inspired by a recent assembly featuring Alex Sheen, founder of the “because I said I would” social movement, students in the STEM class have formed a leadership committee to research how to address issues of poverty and bullying, using an engineering design approach.