Norwood STEM students stay busy as summer nears
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 14:26

Book parade among end-of-year highlights

by Nicole Rodman

    As school winds down and summer draws near, the minds of most students are already turning to thoughts of summer fun.
    At Norwood STEM Program, however, students, teachers and staff remain as busy as ever with a number of activities and clubs around the school.

Learning about literature
    On May 23, students in each grade, from pre-kindergarten to third, took learning about literature to a new level as they participated in a book character parade.
    Each student donned a “book jacket” created from paper bags donated by Mars supermarkets.
    On the bags, students drew characters from one of their favorite books and wrote sentences comparing themselves to their chosen characters.
    As music blared over the loudspeaker, the students proudly marched through the hallways and around the school.
    According to Norwood principal Pat Goldys, the activity was all about fostering a “reading-writing connection.”
    Also on hand for the activity was Troy A. McDaniel, pastor of Grace Place Church.
    The church, located directly next to Norwood, has been partnering with the school since last year.
    “We wanted to help our neighbors, and the kids are important to us because they’re the future of this neighborhood,” McDaniel explained.

So far this year, church members have exchanged letters with first-graders and repainted old globes with chalkboard paint to create vocabulary globes for students to practice writing new words.
    For their latest partnership effort, Grace Place members cut 600 paper grocery bags into book jackets for students to decorate for their character parade.
    The partnership will conclude for the year as church members express gratitude to teachers during the 2nd annual Teacher Appreciation Dinner, to be held at Grace Place later this month.
Clubs bring ideas to life
    Meanwhile, Norwood students have also been developing their engineering and marketing skills with the help of two new school clubs.
    Each Friday, members of the Engineering Club meet with their advisor, third-grade teacher Heather Swinder, to brainstorm and develop new ideas.
    Using specialized software, students create three-dimensional computer models of their designs.
    The designs are then brought to life by the school’s new 3D printer.
    The printer, purchased through a grant from medical technology firm Becton, Dickinson, uses plastic filament to create small objects.
    So far, students have created dice, number cubes and a small plastic bicycle.
    Through their participation in the Engineering Club, Swinder said, students “use engineering and design processes and higher-level thinking skills to design in 3D.”
    Elsewhere in the school, members of the school’s new Entrepreneur Club are hard at work creating, marketing and selling items to fellow students.
    The students, who call themselves “The Biz Kids,” meet each week with their advisor, kindergarten teacher Molly Brady, to brainstorm ideas and bring them to life.
    According to Brady, the students come up with ideas for new products and do market research to determine if the product would sell.
    Students create a business plan, researching and developing every aspect of the operation — from pricing objects to selling them.
    “It’s really student-driven,” Brady explained, noting, “It’s very real but at their level.”
    Products developed and sold by club members include such items as pencil holders and rubber-band bracelets.
    As Brady explained, the club reinforces myriad educational concepts, from economics and marketing to mathematics.
    All of the money raised by the club will be donated to support children’s cancer research.
    As for Brady, she can’t wait to start the club back up again in the fall.
    “I have more ideas for next year!”