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COOL Science at Coolspring!
Coolspring teacher Ms. Rubeck says a change in the daily schedule for her fifth and sixth graders has helped make science come alive for her students. “A two-hour block for math and science gives us time not just to learn the material, but to create hands-on projects that drive concepts home,” she says. “It also helps students develop creativity, problem solving, and teamwork skills.”
To study the chemistry of solutions this year, students “grew” crystal holiday ornaments. They used engineering smarts to figure out how to keep their plant nursery watered over spring break (all plants survived!), and to test physics laws they designed toy cars powered by fans and mousetraps. Astronomy became “real” when they made old-school (and as it turns out, very accurate) sundials.
And then there are Barker Middle School’s quarterly STEM Challenges.
As a STEM-focused middle school, Barker challenges teams from elementary schools, along with area businesses, to take on their own teams (many featuring Coolspring alumni!). There have been a variety of science and math contests: Who can design a paper device to stay in the air the longest? Who can drop an egg from a firetruck ladder without crushing it? Who can build a paper ramp to propel a ping pong ball the greatest distance?
Coolspring sixth graders are currently creating prototypes for Barker’s Middle School final STEM challenge of the school year – a water bottle rocket launch.
Many of the new science activities are a result of a Math and Science Partnership Initiative with Purdue North Central (now Purdue Northwest), providing teachers with professional development and curriculum resources.
Field trips and guest speakers also round out science fun at Coolspring. Education students and professors from PNC work with students five weeks each semester on a variety of hands-on activities, and guests from the Department of Natural Resources, the Purdue Cooperative Extension service, and other organizations have visited to introduce concepts related to biology, nutrition, environmental science, and more.
It all adds up to a COOL science experience at Coolspring!