Over the last few years, we have moved to a more inquiry based learning model and have started to examine how we can enhance students experience with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Inquiry based learning, STEM and Entrepreneurial Thinking are all interconnected and complementary. Through environmental inquiry-based activities, students had the opportunity to explore and investigate the uses of water and the impacts of their actions on bodies of water and the environment. This is all in hopes of them becoming agents of change. The benefits to the community are that students will become better stewards of the environment and call others to action through the solutions they have found. Students who are empowered to see that they can have an impact and can actually find and create solutions - becoming entrepreneurs - are more engaged in the learning process.
By working through the majority of the elements in the Entrepreneurial Toolkit, students have been able to collaborate - among classes and grades - in order to identify and solve real-life problems.
Many classes have participated in activities that include:
Branding - With modifications and reframing, students in the primary grades had the opportunity to identify themselves as Hackers, Hustlers and Designers, through the use of magazines and drawings. As a part of the the STEM Toy project, students create business cards with simple images and words to describe themselves, the brand for their business and their product.
Design, Build and Rapid Prototyping - Classes were engaged in a variety of hands on activities that allowed them to design and build solutions for different projects. Some of them included: Ideation for an aquafarm; STEM Toy Project; Water Bottle creation for specific needs; Garbage Cans to encourage proper waste disposal; solutions for our Water Inquiry Project; Pollution Extraction Design, Build and Rapid Prototype challenge; and the designing and building of simple machines.
Pivoting - Customer interviews were used in a variety of classrooms to identify areas of change needed to make their solutions better. Students are learning to embrace mistakes and failures in order to be able to improve and become better problem solvers.
Pitches - On a trip to Albion Hills, Grade 6/7 students had the chance to pitch their solutions to environmental problems. The Grade 4s have been refining their 60 second pitches on problems and solutions related to water. This is helping students to become more concise and explicit in communicating.
As a staff, we feel as though we have quite a bit to celebrate and a simple walk through the halls is an exciting way to see all of the learning of our students.