STEEL VALLEY STREAM
MON VALLEY MAYHEM
Front Row: Michayla Rager, Chelsea Bulger, Isabella Ruston, Shelby Novak. Back Row: Ben Novotny, Riley Furrick, Katie Ligeros, Arielle Middleton, and Michael Dugan. Steel Valley Middle School students who brought in the largest donations for the Math-A-Thon for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
Students Show the Inequality Using Their Sphero
Students in Mrs. Dunmire-Kuftic and Mrs. Sullivan’s 6th grade math classes used the Spheros to explore inequalities. They had to solve a series of inequalities, plot them on a number line and then use their Sphero to display which direction the ray would travel. This would depict the solutions for the inequality. At the end, Mrs. Dunmire-Kuftic and Mrs. Sullivan would assess student knowledge by asking an inequality and having the students show the inequality using their Sphero.
Educational Event – STEAM
On December 21st and 22nd, Steel Valley staged its first educational immersion event. Sixteen 7th grade students, selected via a written essay, participated in the two day experience. Teachers Mike Hofbauer and Steve Large facilitated the event and were assisted by fellow teacher Mark Fallon and Dr. Daniel Borsch, Penn State University professor.
The program blends elements of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math), team-building exercises and human-centered design principles. It’s a method where students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to engaging tasks and questions. For this event, students were immersed in featured physics aspects culminating in an egg challenge where groups were provided an egg and a wooden car. Their task was to protect their egg within a budget and limited resources as a ramp was made increasingly steep. The culminating experience asked students to write a letter to themselves about what they learned regarding the topics of mass, speed and force. The letter will be mailed home and is to be opened by participants as they turn 16 and prepare to become drivers.
Participants conducted surveys on car safety, completed a zip line challenge, explored the effects of mass and speed through a practical experience, learned about and provided a short demonstration of Newton’s three laws and the transfer of momentum, solved a jigsaw puzzle and found relevant details regarding vehicle safety, developed a concept poster, prototyped and completed the final challenge.
The intent was to increase student engagement and deep understanding through the inquiry process. The tasks were relevant and real world-based. The development of hands-on, minds-on and research-based disposition honors the complex, interconnected nature of knowledge providing opportunities for both students and teachers to collaborate, build, test, improve and reflect on the learning. Rather than simply being able to remember and repeat information, participants are able to find it, experience it and apply it.