Students at Harford Hills Elementary practice STEM skills while creating something useful


BCPS teachers are encouraged to take curriculum-based lessons and create STEM activities that support those lessons. A STEM lesson requires students to use inquiry, logical reasoning, collaboration and investigation and Ms. Janes' STEM lesson allowed students to do just that.

Janes, a fifth grade teacher at Harford Hills Elementary School, created a STEM lesson that also aligns with the Standards of Mathematical Practice. The real-life lesson of working together as a team to create scarves, an item every student could use in this record-breaking winter, was priceless.

The students had to measure to the nearest 1/8th of an inch in order to create the pattern for the scarf. Once the pattern was ready, each student chose a piece of fleece fabric and traced the pattern on the fabric, fringe included. Next, they got their scissors and had to cut accurately and efficiently. Students realized that cutting a straight line based on their measurements was more challenging than they thought. Ms. Janes hopes this lesson will improve the students' ability to use measurement in many areas across the curriculum, as well as keep students warm for the rest of winter.

Many teachers use "exit" tickets at the end of class to evaluate the lesson. Students have to solve a problem or answer a question in the last few minutes of class.  At the end of the class one student looked around the room for his exit ticket, when Ms. Janes saw this, she said, "Today, you are wearing your exit ticket."

Written by Corinne Janes with Becky Ponder and Lisa Turner. Photos by Corinne Janes and Becky Ponder
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