Glen Lake students in Minnetonka receive glimpse into the future
STEM Extravaganza offers view of new curriculum to parents, students
Glen Lake Elementary parents, students and students-to-be caught a glimpse of how schools with look in the future at the Jan. 10 Glen Lake STEM Extravaganza.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
Glen Lake has recently been designated a STEM magnified school and beginning next year, students will experience STEM curriculum as early as preschool, according to Hopkins School District officials.
“It will be exciting,” said Glen Lake fourth-grade instructor Chris Ohotto. “Change is good.”
Glen Lake, like all Hopkins district elementary schools, already has STEM facets in their core curriculum. The magnified school designation means its students will have additional STEM opportunities and experiences.
In addition to the hands-on experience the students will receive, STEM curriculum will promote working together.
“The kids love it,” Ohotto said. “It’s based on problem-solving and collaborative working together.”
The Jan. 10 extravaganza, designed for parents of preschool-aged children, showcased how STEM education will be phased in and used in a classroom setting.
Dozens of families got a hands-on experience on STEM activities brought to the event by The Works, a museum in Bloomington that facilities STEM curriculum.
Daniel Vogel, who will be in Kindergarten next year at Glen Lake, watched parent volunteer Dave Egginton demonstrate how an electrical circuit is completed using wires and a battery.
Erika Vogel, Daniel’s mother, said her son enjoyed the extravaganza and is looking forward to having STEM opportunities next year.
“He loves school,” said Vogel, of Hopkins.
She also said she is excited about the STEM opportunities for Daniel as he matriculates through school, particularly because of the real-world applications he will be able to use one day.
She is hoping the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in Daniel’s case.
“My husband is huge into technology and science,” Vogel said.
At another STEM station, Aurora White, 5, of Minnetonka, worked with small rods she could connect to make various shapes using magnets.
Aurora will be in Kindergarten next year, and her father Monte White agreed with Vogel about the value of these skills in the workforce.
“I think it’s a good thing,” he said. “It gives them real-world examples of what they are learning. They’re using their hands and their brain at the same time.”
The extravaganza also featured an iPad station for children to be able to try out apps and for parents to learn how technology is now being used at the Kindergarten level.
White said this infusion of technology is also beneficial for young students today.
“That’s kind of the future,” he said.
Glen Lake was able to be named a STEM magnified school because of a $19,000 grant from the Hopkins Education Foundation, which was used to buy Explore Lab engineering simulation units from The Works to the school.
“This would not be happening if not for that grant,” Ohotto said.
A magnet school typically means that the school does not follow attendance boundaries of a neighborhood school, said Hopkins Communications Coordinator Jolene Goldade. For example, XinXing Academy would be considered a magnet school in that sense because it does not have defined attendance boundaries.
“When we say magnified, what we mean is an extension of STEM experiences beyond what our other elementary schools offer,” Goldade said. “For example, starting next year – and in some cases starting as soon as now – Glen Lake will offer STEM learning starting in preschool and continuing on throughout sixth-grade. STEM is in all of our elementary schools, but it is traditionally starts in third-grade.”
Glen Lake has also bought a large selection of nonfiction books that correlate to the STEM content, said Ohotto.
Glen Lake has seven iPads in every room for grades Kindergarten to grade 2. The school is also increasing the number of laptops in grade 3 and has a 2-to-1 program in grades 4-6.
Contact Matthew Hankey at email@example.com