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Highland Park News

by Kelly Morrow


Highland Park News

"A Great Place To Learn"
March is Expanding Girls' Horizons
in Science and Engineering Month
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Credit to:

March is Expanding Girls' Horizons in Science & Engineering Month. Science and engineering are typically male-dominated fields, but times are changing. With an influx of women in these industries, young girls are beginning to see themselves represented in this niche and remain interested in these topics for longer. In the past, although many girls are interested in science when they are young, most of them are discouraged from pursuing those interests. This month, and every month, it's time to encourage girls to pursue their passions, no matter what they are. 
Counselor's Corner
Words from Kristi Mitchell

Elementary school counselors are responsible for promoting skills for social/emotional learning (SEL), academic success and career exploration. I was thrilled to collaborate with Mrs. Morrow on the STEM project for the 2nd grade girls because it covers all of these things.

SEL skills are especially vital to STEM design. While students work together in their groups, they build off of each other's ideas. Good communication, active listening and respecting one another's ideas are required for team success.

As students design their projects, they also must take time to understand the needs and situations of others. Teaching students to consider someone's point of view, needs and barriers can help them improve their design skills and grow their empathy.
Science & Engineering
Next Generation - New Mindset
If you can Dream It,
you can
S.T.R.E.A.M. It!
by Kelly Morrow

Here at Highland Park Elementary, we take STEM curriculum very seriously. In fact, we have extended STEM to STREAM - Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, and Math. Traditionally, these subjects are separated into independent courses, but through STREAM we are teaching our students to connect the dots between the subject areas. By using cross-curriculum, students learn that in the "real world" core subjects are intertwined in everyday life. For instance, computer programmers must use science, technology, math and art to come up with popular video games that most students love to play.
STREAM is not just a course of study, it is a way of thinking and adjusting our mindset. STREAM can be "problem-based" and "project-based" learning, or even a combination of both. Our students are learning how to think outside of the box, all problems can be solved through trial and error, and that failures are not final - they are how we learn!
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Video message from Leslie Moore

A great example of "Girls in Stem" is one of Muscle Shoals City Schools' very own graduates, Leslie Moore.

Miss Moore attended K-12 at Muscle Shoals City Schools and went on to further her education at Auburn University. She is now an Industrial Engineer at Lockheed Martin an Aerospace company!

Miss Moore is a true inspiration to not only our female students, but ALL our students here at Highland Park Elementary. She is proving to everyone that if dream it, and you believe it, you can achieve it!

Science & Engineering
Experiments from an expert
Mrs. Smith is a former science teacher of Muscle Shoals Middle School. She taught for 25 years and has a true passion for science.

As Mrs. Smith explains in her video, science is all around us. You can find it in the most unexpected places. You can find it in your backyard in the plants and animals you may find, but did you ever imagine you could find it in your kitchen?

Take a look at the video Mrs. Smith shared with us. Who knows what fun you may discover in her "recipes"!
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From simple machines to modern day
Click here to get started:
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by Kelly Morrow

The evolution of engineering is amazing! For years we said "necessity is the mother of invention", and while that is true we are writing new chapters everyday. In fact, our new motto could be "imagination is the mother of invention". The sky is no longer the limit; we reached for the stars and landed on the moon. Now we are once again going places no man has gone before. The Mars Rover is taking us where only our imagination has gone before. How exciting to witness history being made!

While it is exciting watching today's technology take giant leaps for mankind, we must remember it all started with six simple machines. In fact, while the Perseverance rover is using new technology to land itself and search for life on Mars, it would not be able to function without simple machines.

By looking at the picture above, can you find any of those simple machines?
Entertainment & DIY
Mars Survival Kit:
Make Your Own Mars Rover
Ever thought about how you could get around on Mars? What if you could send a rover to Mars, what would you want it to do? Climb to the top of the tallest mountain? Test a sample of soil to figure out what plants might grow? Find the best location to land humans on Mars?
Build your own Mars Rover: Build your own rover with materials found around your home – paper tubes, cardboard boxes, chop sticks, craft sticks, foil, or anything. Make your own design or build one similar to one of NASA’s Mars Rovers.
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Editorial & Feature Article
Myths of STEM
From Fairytale Dreams To Real Life S.T.E.A.M.
by Kelly Morrow

STEM is not all robots and homemade slime! Sure robots are fun, and who doesn't love to mix up potions to make oobleck or an erupting volcano? While these are part of the exciting world of STEM, they make up only a small portion of the overall experience.

Many teachers are hesitant to incorporate STEM because they are intimidated with coding and robotics. Take it from me, an "old-school" media aide, you do not have to be a computer programmer to teach STEM! In early childhood education, coding can be as simple as stringing Froot Loops on a string. Another idea is placing arrows on the ground as commands for the "student robot". This is a great classroom activity as it gets them up and moving and limits screen time.

Another myth is, "STEM supplies are too expensive for my classroom budget". Wrong! Yes, buying robots, batteries, and maker-space supplies can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Classrooms can share the reusable resources, such as robots, books, magnets, Lego, etc. Even in a pandemic we can share! Most reusable resources can be wiped down with antibacterial wipes or sprayed with disinfectant. Maker-space supplies can be cost effective by using simple supplies like paper, pencils, crayons, glue sticks, scissors; and repurposed materials like toilet paper/paper towel rolls, empty water bottles, brown paper lunch bags and old magazines or newspapers!

The worst myth is, "I don't have time to incorporate STEM into my classroom". Oh my, have I got news for you! STEM is already in your classroom! It is hiding everywhere. We teach problem solving skills in everything we do. The Engineering Design Process, or EDP, is easily incorporated into those problem solving skills. It is crucial to ask open-ended questions to promote student participation. Reassure them that making a mistake is okay. Mistakes can be learning opportunities. Sometimes a mistake is a wrong answer and we must go back and come up with another plan, but sometimes a mistake turns out to be wonderful! Some mistakes are discoveries, or a better option than ever before! Mark Twain once wrote: "Name the greatest of all the inventors. Accident." We will never know the limits of a child's mind, without allowing it to expand!
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In our first ever S.T.E.A.M. Fair, second grade girls were selected to participate. We wanted to remind the girls they could use the engineering design process and the scientific method to find a solution for problems in fairytales, just as we do in real life situations. By doing so, they discovered they incorporated more than one subject to solve their problem. For instance, many groups used engineering and art; some used science, engineering and art.

The teams had to work together to pick a fairytale, decide what problem needed to be solved, make a plan on how they would solve it, and put their plan into action by building it. Most importantly, they had to test their project to see if it worked, if it didn't they had to go back and make their adjustments. After they were satisfied with the outcome, they were responsible for presenting the project and explaining how it worked.

I can not tell you how proud Kristi Mitchell and I are of the girls and the work they presented. We only facilitated the projects. If the girls were struggling, we tried to open up conversation to help them explore possible solutions, but we could not assist them in the actual project. Watching them overcome their hesitations of creativity and their fear of failure was amazing! We gave them constant reminders that mistakes are how we learn and overcoming a failure leads to success! GREAT JOB GIRLS!
Extra, Extra Hear All About It!
Kynlee Jackson, Melody Layne,
Paris Bates-Jackson,
Khloe Hogan
Lauren Seamons, Kyndall Whitehurst, Lexie Logan
Lani Olive,
Ava Bryant,
Nevaeh Raine,
Cailyn Bartek
Callie Buchanan,
Addisyn Wilcoxson,
Chanley Lambert
Aubrey Compise,
Joseline Johnson,
Emmi Yates,
Mattie Murphy
Ainslee Shelhamer,
Arden King,
Sarah Whiteside