Announcing PJS Global STEAM Week

A student at Kenya Connect watches with delight as a project he designed emerges from the 3D printer. He and his classmates are participating in Level Up Village’s Global Inventors course.

A student at Kenya Connect watches with delight as a project he designed emerges from the 3D printer. He and his classmates are participating in Level Up Village’s Global Inventors course.

Dear PJS Families,

I am so excited to share our plans for Global STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) Immersion Week at Princeton Junior School. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the PJS Parents’ Association and the generous support of families and friends of PJS, all of our students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 will have the opportunity to participate in a week-long STEAM immersion class (5/9-5/13) taught by our new partner, Level Up Village (www.levelupvillage.com).
  
Level Up Village (LUV) provides unique educational enrichment opportunities in which students apply their design thinking skills and STEAM knowledge to a global issue in collaboration with partners from a developing country.  As the students from both countries collaborate to learn about and solve real world problems, participants also strengthen critical thinking skills, build intercultural awareness and understanding, and experience the benefits of belonging to a global learning community.
  
Similar to the IB mission and philosophy, LUV empowers students to investigate relevant, significant issues and make a difference in the world through collaboration between students in the U.S. and Global Partner students in 23 countries. In keeping with LUV’s “take a class, give a class” model, U.S. school partners directly sponsor Global STEAM education in developing countries, with a portion of the tuition being used to deliver the same class to students at one of LUV’s Global Partners.  Participation in this unique learning community allows children to see that while their lives may appear to be very different, there are significant commonalities that connect us all and there is much to learn from each other.  

Beginning Monday, May 9th, PJS K-5 students will be participating in Level Up Village classes led by experienced LUV teachers from 8:30-11:30.  Classroom teachers will remain with their students to observe, document learning, and assist when needed.  Please make sure that your child arrives to school on time as STEAM classes will begin promptly at 8:30.

The following LUV classes have been selected because of curricular connections to our Program of Inquiry:

Kindergarten and Grade 1: Global Storybook Engineers Jr.
K/1 students and their global partners will learn about fables, stories and myths from different cultures and then explore how they can re-engineer the outcome using everyday household and crafting materials.  As students explore engineering through the lens of folktales from around the world, they will engage in a variety of design challenges.  For example, what could Rapunzel have invented to climb out of her tower? What could Jack have done to prevent the giant from chasing him down the beanstalk?

Through this experience, our PJS K/1 students will have a hands-on introduction to STEAM and design thinking as well as the opportunity to communicate with and learn alongside their global partners. This Global STEAM immersion class will enrich and extend the students’ understanding of their current central idea: People write for different purposes.

Grades 2 and 3: Global Explorers
PJS grade 2/3 students will become environmental detectives and take a virtual field trip to investigate and explore different habitats around the world.  Together with their global partners, they will learn about the classification of animal kingdoms as they design and create a shared presentation on an indigenous species of their choosing. Through the process, students will develop a deeper understanding of biodiversity, experiment with green screen technology, and gain presentation skills alongside their global partners.
By the end of the course, they will have developed a shared final project: a green screen multimedia video presentation using videos and images of their chosen indigenous species.

This Global STEAM immersion class will enrich the students’ classroom inquiry into their central idea: Biodiversity relies on maintaining the interdependent balance of organisms within systems.

Grade 4: Global Doctors: Anatomy
Through the Global Doctors: Anatomy class, PJS fourth graders will revisit and deepen their understand of the central idea: The effective interaction of  human body systems contributes to health and survival.  Our fourth grade Global Doctors will collaborate with their global partners to learn about World Health and human body systems by performing specimen dissections and discussing health issues in their respective countries.  Each day, students will be guided through the dissection of a new specimen- this includes a frog, grasshopper, earthworm, and shark, among others.

By exchanging video message with their global partners, our students will learn about another country and culture through the lens of global health while sharing observations related to hands-on specimen dissections.

Grade 5: Global Inventors
Our 5th grade Global Inventors will collaborate with global partners who lack reliable access to electricity.  Together, they will design and build solar-powered flashlights by harnessing the power of 3D printing and renewable energy technology.  Through their investigation of electricity and invention in a real, global context, students will deepen their understanding of how electricity works (from a previous IB unit of inquiry) as they explore energy issues through the eyes of their learning partners.
Through this course, students will gain insight into the engineering design cycle and will learn how to use a 3D printer with Computer Assisted Design (CAD) software to design a prototype.  After the course, the 3D printer will belong to PJS and will become another tool in our growing Technology Toolbox.
  
At the end of our week-long Global STEAM immersion, on Friday, May 13, students will display their work in the Commons to share their learning experiences with each other and PJS families.  This is a great opportunity to get a glimpse of our exciting summer offerings that feature these Level Up Village Global STEAM classes with connections to PJS morning nature and art summer program.   To learn more about our Curiosity Camp offerings for Age 2-Grade 5, visit our camp website: www.pjssummercamp.weebly.com.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at sweintraub@princetonjuniorschool.org.

Best,

Susan Weintraub
IB PYP Coordinator