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January 15, 2017

Dear Families,

image of snowman Hope you enjoyed a great long weekend!

STEM and Grade 3 Computer Coding

At last week’s PTC meeting, NCPS Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Jill Correnty, and K-8 Science Coordinator, Ms. Melinda Meyer, shared an overview of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning opportunities for students. This includes experiences embedded in current classes, such as opportunities in grade 4 science classes to design an alarm box to apply their learning from the “Electricity and Magnetism” unit. It also includes specific, discrete modules of computer science learning and coding.

For the past four years, grade 1 students have engaged in Lego Robotics where they manipulate block codes to animate their Lego designs. Last year, we incorporated a nationally recognized program, Project Lead the Way (PLTW), into Grades 2 and 3. East second graders undertook this work in the fall and grade 3 students are moving into their coding unit this month. Over the course of the units, students learn about the sequence and structure required in computer programs and apply mathematical strategies to make characters move as they design and develop games on a tablet. Scratch Jr and Hopscotch are two of the programming apps that students use to snap together graphical programming blocks to make their characters move, jump, dance, and sing.

You can learn more about STEM experiences in the elementary grades and view a video of this work “in action” by visiting the NCPS website, “Curriculum”, “Science”, then click on the “Science / STEM Presentations” link in the bottom right-hand corner of the science curriculum page: https://www.ncps-k12.org/Page/2313 .

Bee-Man@East

Thanks to the East School PTC Enrichment program, first grade students met bee-keeper, Howland Blackiston of Easton, this Thursday for a presentation and question-and-answer session about the complex communities of bees. Mr. Blackiston shared his knowledge and experience, and students asked inquisitive questions as a culmination of their study of bees in the context of the grade 1 science unit, “Needs of Living Things.” The excitement and interest of the students was high all week in anticipation of this visit, but all were relieved to know that Mr. Blackiston would not be sharing live bees with the classes!

We hope to see all of you at Pasta / Bingo Night this Friday! Looking forward to a wonderful time for all – we have some terrific East Bingo callers coming!

Have a good week,

Kris