Using a metacognitive approach, Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva encourages students’ self-reflection, analytical thinking and creative problem solving. In a STEM program for the third grade, the students saved Gertrude the Gardener’s garden from erosion. In order to protect her garden, the third grade first learned about soil and erosion and then designed and created mechanisms using organic materials to naturally fortify Gertrude’s Garden from eroding away. During this activity, the students reinforced important problem solving skills, re-evaluating and re-working their projects if it wasn’t successful at first, in a fail-safe environment. Additionally, each group arrived at a solution, and each solution was different!
The sixth grade boys also had an exciting STEM week! The students began the week creating and designing paper helicopters. The students then raced their helicopters to see which one was able to go the farthest. The boys then continued their yearlong engineering unit by partaking in a fun Egg Drop Challenge, problem solving through much trial and error to see which method would prevent an egg from breaking when dropping it.
School is a laboratory of life, and similar to real-world applications there was no one right answer to these engineering design challenges, but a myriad of creative solutions for students to arrive at using critical thinking and self-reflection. RPRY thanks the Cypess Family Foundation for generously sponsoring the STEM program.