S.T.E.M. at Kate Smith
What does S.T.E.M. mean?
S.T.E.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. It is an integrated and inquiry-based approach to teaching all subject areas. According to S.T.E.M. Lesson Essentials by Jo Anne Vasquez, Cary Sneider, and Michael Comer, "S.T.E.M. education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning that removes the traditional barriers separating the four disciplines of science and integrates them into real-world, rigorous, and relevant learning experiences for students." At Kate Smith, we try to integrate all subjects by teaching them through science topics. Students are motivated to learn because they enjoy the topics of study.
Kate Smith uses several research-based programs to encourage students STEM education, including Project Lead the Way (PLTW) and Full Option Science System (FOSS). For more information, click on the images below.
Science DBQs (Document Based Questions)
A science document based question (DBQ) is an authentic assessment where students interact with science related texts. Much like a DBQ in social studies, students read and analyze documents, gather information, and fill in short scaffolded response questions. Then students assimilate and synthesize information from the documents, and write to an overarching prompt by using information from the documents as well as integrating background knowledge they may have brought to the topic. In these science DBQs, the documents include text, visual models, diagrams, illustrations, videos, etc., all examples of resources a scientist or engineer might use in research and/or in the field. For more information or questions, please contact Jillian Welch (all grade levels), Marie Scilacci (1st and 2nd grade), Megan Conley (3rd grade), or Megan Tilton (3rd Grade).
1st Grade Science DBQ - Life Science
2nd Grade Science DBQ - Earth's Systems: Processes that Shape the Earth
2nd Grade Science DBQ - Matter
3rd Grade Science DBQ - Inheritance and Variation of Traits
3rd Grade Science DBQ - Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
3rd Grade Math and Science DBQ - Weather and Climate/Representing and Interpreting Charts and Data
4th Grade Science DBQ #1 - Native Americans and the Beginning of the Oregon Trail (aligned to science and Nevada State social studies standards)
4th Grade Science DBQ #2 - Resources on the Oregon Trail (aligned to science and Nevada State social studies standards)
4th Grade Science DBQ #3 - Hastings Cutoff and the Donner Party (aligned to science and Nevada State social studies standards)
4th Grade Science DBQ #4 - Ruts/Long Term Effects of Wagon Trains and Mining (aligned to science and Nevada State social studies standards)
5th Grade Science DBQ - Matter and Energy in Ecosystems
Integrated Units of Study
Integrated Units of Study are built by starting with the science or social studies standards, and then using the Backwards Planning Model. Project-Based Learning is a key focus when designing final unit projects to assess student learning. Reading, writing, math, and other subjects are integrated into the units to make student learning as cohesive as possible. For more information or questions, please contact Jillian Welch (all grade levels), Marie Scilacci (1st and 2nd grade), or Megan Tilton (3rd Grade).
Integrated Science Activities/Games
These activities are based on Life Science Standards in kindergarten through 3rd grade. Activities include standards, activity directions, as well as any needed materials including picture cards that can be printed for each game. For more information or questions, please contact Jillian Welch (all grade levels), Marie Scilacci (1st and 2nd grade), or Megan Tilton (3rd Grade).
Science Focused Field Trips
These materials were created to guide field trips that are linked directly to science standards and integrated units of study, so that students have a very clear learning goal during a field trip. For more information or questions, please contact Jillian Welch (all grade levels), Marie Scilacci (1st and 2nd grade), or Megan Tilton (3rd Grade).
Leveled Books to Support Science and Social Studies Content
In this document you will find lists of books related to various science and social studies topics. Most books are leveled and can support whole class or small group learning when integrating reading with content. These books are supports and some are more aligned with NGSS standards than others; this list is meant to be a tool to help find texts. The document was created in Microsoft Excel and has a tab for many different elementary content areas. For more information or questions, please contact Jillian Welch.
Family Science Nights
Family Science Nights
These materials were created for our Family Science Nights. These are evening events, held at the school, for all family members to attend. During the event, small activities are set up in classrooms for families to engage in, then a large final activity is set up in the multi-purpose room to end the evening. Families rotate around the school at their own pace, enjoying an evening of family fun!
Family Science Night 2017 (Materials Lists) - During this event, families earn tickets for each classroom activity they successfully complete, then use those tickets to "buy" supplies for the final activity. In the final activity, families attempt to design something that will protect an egg from breaking when dropped from a ladder in the multi-purpose room.
Family STEM Night 2018/Family STEM Night 2018 (Spanish) (Materials Lists) - During this event, families learn about engineering by listening to the picture book Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty. In the main activity for the evening, families build a vehicle that they test in the multi-purpose room (tested for distance traveled). In order to build their cars, families complete short engineering activities in classrooms; after completing each challenge, families earn various vehicle parts that they use to design their vehicle for the main activity.
PowerPoint Presentations used to present Integrated STEM Learning and Science DBQs (Document Based Questions) at local teacher conferences which may be used for reference to presentation content. For more information or questions, please contact Jillian Welch, Marie Scilacci, Megan Conley, and Megan Tilton.
Northern Nevada Math and Science Conference (2017)
Nevada Reading Week Conference (2018)
NSTA Reno Area Conference (2018)