STEM Program Summary
Ridgecrest Elementary School, with grades K-5, has implemented STEM education in multiple ways throughout the different grade levels. We began our STEM journey with professional development for teachers, STEMformation was put in process & 3 teachers were certified as Discovery Education STEM Certified teachers, and Defined Learning teacher leaders. The DE STEM teachers are now leading and mentoring other teachers throughout the school. Our faculty uses Discovery Education SOS strategies, with a focus on the 4C’s: Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking.
Lessons are developed to use the five elements of effective STEM instruction. Teachers are AMSTI science trained with STEM practices supporting: standards, real world connections, career connections, the 4 C’s, and inter/transdisciplinary connections. Teachers receive feedback on best teaching practices using the ELEOt tool and through learning labs.
Students receive multiple opportunities for STEM learning. Our Smart Lab Program offers engineering, design, and coding opportunities for all students, beginning at the kindergarten level and progressing through fifth grade at RES. Students receive art and music instruction throughout the year to incorporate these fine arts into our STEM focus. Ridgecrest offers after school opportunities in STEM with a robotics team, drone club, archery team and a math team.
Since our STEM program was implemented, students were surveyed about STEM learning throughout the day. The overwhelming majority responded that students enjoyed building with legos, coding, and snap circuits. Our students have continued to build their critical thinking skills, collaboration skills have grown, and they have taken more ownership of their learning.