B-P students in grades 7-9 had the chance to participate in summer enrichment programs at B-P Junior High School this month as an extension of the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) curriculum taught at BPES. Throughout the week, students designed and built “green” houses, created bridges out of popsicle sticks, mapped out a hypothetical trip to Mars and even dissected a sheep’s brain!
PLTW curriculum is incorporated into each B-P student’s educational career starting in kindergarten, exposing them to concepts in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM). PLTW taps into children’s exploratory nature, engages them in learning that feels like play, encourages them to keep discovering, become hands-on problem solvers and learn to collaborate with each other.
The district utilized federal stimulus money to fund this summer’s enrichment programs and were able to offer the week-long camps — as well as bus transportation — to B-P families at no cost this year. Students were able to choose from the following classes:
B-P Jr.-Sr. High School graphic arts teacher Crisan Anadio taught students about green architecture, a philosophy that advocates for building with the environment in mind, using sustainable sources of energy, reducing energy use and updating buildings with new technology. Students learned about different architectural styles, were introduced to various software used by architects and the unique handwriting style that architects use on blueprints. They created floor plans, designed and constructed “green” houses out of cardboard and designed a structure on graph paper which was then transformed into a real life model.
B-P’s new technology teacher Nicole Battisti taught a course that helped students explore the engineering design process through a variety of experiments and challenges including an egg drop (create a mechanism to protect an egg from breaking in a vertical fall), cup stacking challenge (stack cups using tools, but not your hands), rocket launch (a paper rocket launched with a straw), popsicle stick bridge contest (which bridge can hold the most weight, using only 200 popsicle sticks and glue), and a paper airplane design contest (which plane can fly the furthest and the straightest).
Flight and Space Summer Camp
Beth Tomlinson, PLTW teacher at BPES taught this aerospace-themed curriculum, which included studying the science of flight, what it takes to travel and live in space, and the role that scientists and engineers play in the field of aeronautical science. Students also worked in teams to design and model different aspects required to complete a hypothetical mission to Mars, including planning the astronaut crew, rocket specifications, daily crew activity schedules, specifications for a landing site, and building a Mars landing vehicle.
Taught by B-P Junior High School science teacher Natasha Hakim, this class gave students the chance to study different aspects of the brain. They looked at the nervous system and how it interacts with the brain, the anatomy of a human brain and even completed the dissection of a sheep’s brain! Throughout the week, they played “Brain Bingo” and created their own brain hats. Students also learned about medical imaging (MRI’s CT, etc.) from an x-ray technician from St. Mary’s Hospital and worked through a fictitious patient medical file to make a potential diagnosis.