STREAM LEARNING IN THE UPPER SCHOOL
At St. Peter of Alcantara School, grades five through eight have a dedicated STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art and Math) period in their schedules every week.
The STREAM class has been a highlight of cutting-edge learning in the upper school. Science teacher Mrs. Lehmuller, with the assistance of Mrs. Saar, the art teacher, and Mr. Cangro, the math teacher, all work together in the STREAM classroom on various projects. For a recent project, students working in groups built a large-scale catapult using wood dowels, rubber bands and plastic cups to learn about kinetic (released) versus potential (stored) energy. They predicted what materials would travel the farthest after they weighed them using a triple-beam balance. The materials were mini marshmallows, sand, dried beans and a plastic lime. Once they launched the materials, they used a measuring tape to measure the distance in feet and inches.
THIRD GRADE STEM ROLLERCOASTERS
St. Peter’s third grade recently worked on a creative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) project, led by third-grade teacher, Mrs. Sperrazza.
Students were working on a force and motion unit in science. Sperazza created the integrated STEM activity, which involved creating a rollercoaster to show the dynamics of how force and motion work together. Students were challenged to use their engineering and problem solving skills to create rollercoasters using only tape, paper plates and paper cups.
For the rollercoaster to meet the design objectives of the project, a marble had to successfully travel from the top to the bottom of the rollercoaster. The students collaborated to solve each problem they encountered while building their rollercoasters and learning about force and motion.
COOPERATIVE LEARNING IN FIRST AND SECOND GRADE
St. Peter’s School has implemented cooperative learning in their first and second grade classrooms.
Cooperative learning fosters a collaborative learning environment for both grades and allows the older students to mentor the younger ones while the younger students benefit from the positive role models and strive to excel in the classroom. The first and second grade teachers, Mrs. Cotilletta and Mrs. Calpin, bring the classes together for cooperative learning at various times during the day, including for STEM every week. The second-grade boys and girls have been instrumental in helping the first graders acclimate to the classroom and routine. St. Joseph’s College is guiding the cooperative learning strategies in the school.
—Submitted by St. Peter’s School