What do S.T.E.M Fridays look like at Redwood Day School?

Each Friday, Redwood Day students engage in a hands-on STEM project by working together to solve science, technology, engineering and math problems though our new Science Career Adventures curriculum.  This unique program focuses on careers so students can understand how the concepts they learn at Redwood relate to the real world. After problem- solving in one of these NGSS aligned lessons, students will take a field trip to see how each topic connects to real life. Check out the steps of Redwood’s engaging STEM program below to see how Redwood Day students are developing an in-depth understanding of content as they develop key skills such as collaboration, inquiry, problem-solving, and flexibility that they will use throughout their educational and professional lives. 

I See, I Think, I Wonder - Inquiry in Action

Our first STEM Friday kicked off with an exploration into how scientists practice inquiry, particularly in the field of ecology. Students learned a new strategy called “I See, I Think, I Wonder” to activate background knowledge and push them to ask questions about the scientific world.

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We began by investigating a fascinating phenomenon - how sea turtle eggs hatch and the hatchlings must make their way to the sea. Students made observations of things they could visibly see, such as “I see a bunch of baby turtles.” and “I see there are people in the background.” 

Next, we pushed ourselves to infer and question based off of those observations. Students inferred things like, “I think people might want to take the baby turtles home as pets,” and then elevated their inferences to pose questions about the situation. Redwood Day students had some very interesting wonderings about how to protect the fragile sea turtle babies! All of the wonderings helped to get students engaged in the topic of ecology, and gave them a purpose for experimentation.

This method of observing, inferring, and questioning is a process used by scientists around the world!

Hands- On Experimentation 

After engaging in inquiry, students were then given the opportunity to act as ecologists to solve a nature-related problem. Students learned that when sea turtle nests become too hot, baby turtles will be unable to hatch from their eggs. Working together in teams, students were tasked with finding a solution to help keep the nests cool. Given various recycled materials and craft supplies, students built structures to provide nests with the shade necessary to ensure turtle survival!

Redwood Day students using teamwork to build their sea turtle eggs.

Redwood Day students using teamwork to build their sea turtle eggs.

STEM Friday Field Trip

After students designed and built their structures, Redwood headed to our neighborhood beach to test how the contraptions could lower the temperature of the sand. Students first tested the temperature of the sand before they set up their structures. Then, students measured the temperature of the sand after their structures had been installed to determine whether or not their structures worked to keep the nests cool!

Redwood Day students testing the sand’s natural temperature.

Redwood Day students testing the sand’s natural temperature.

Redwood Day students preparing their structure in the sand.

Redwood Day students preparing their structure in the sand.

Redwood students were able to determine the effectiveness of their structures in a hands-on and engaging way. Through this experiment and field trip, students were able to not only learn what Ecologists do, but act as Ecologists in our community!

Redwood Day students will be using this structure to study STEM careers all year. We are excited for many learning adventures to come!





Becky Sinclair