Bluffton Elementary is unique in starting Computer Science in early grades. Most schools that are focused on CS are secondary. In fact, we have struggled to find other schools and partners. Mrs. Brown, the principal, has been working to help encourage other elementary schools to explore CS. In the meantime, we have made some connections with CalState Teach, Discovery Education, and the United Kingdom.
Community, post-secondary, and business/industry partners and/or families actively support and are engaged with teachers and students in the STEM program.Bluffton Elementary has been working with CalState for over five years to help increase the training prospective teachers receive in college. The partnership has helped create stronger technology savvy teachers. Bluffton Elementary has a partnership with Discovery Education to help our teachers enhance their STEM classroom skills. Discovery Education is providing research-based professional development to help maintain STEM learning practices to support Beaufort County and Bluffton Elementary’s STEM Learning Profile.
Last year, the United Kingdom mandated Computer Science for all grade levels. Bluffton Elementary was fortunate to have a teacher that was a native to that country. Through her connections, we started collaborating with several schools on resources and lesson plans.
For our local community, Bluffton Elementary is hosting two STEM showcases for the school year. The parents and community are invited to join us as our students show off their talents.
Bluffton Elementary utilizes ToonBoom software for animation. The software gradually decreases the child-like icon approach in ToonBoom classic to a more industry standard professional approach in ToonBoom Allstar. The two videos below describe how animation works with our curriculum. These videos are from our feature on LarryKingLive.
Mrs. Brown, our principal, seeks to help other educators implement STEM in the elementary setting. She has presented at a variety of conferences including FETC in Florida.
Waddell Mariculture Center
4th grade field trip to Waddell Mariculture Center
Students got the opportunity to learn about the importance of our area’s salt marshes and replant spartina grass into the marsh at the Waddell Mariculture Center. Students discussed how the grasses are a barrier to help an island host wildlife, marine and plant life and protect the area from erosion. Discussions centered around how could the students help after hurricanes, erosion and possibly humans had destroyed that barrier. Students planted small spartina grasses in their green house and cultivated them until the grasses were strong enough to transplant. Once that was achieved the students went on a field trip to replant the grasses in their new habitat.
Parents participated in STEM Math night. During this time the parents helped students create file folder math games, learn to measure using just their feet, and learn about a variety of apps and programs to help with math standards.