News From Ramaz

"STEAM Tank" Takes the Lower School!
Posted 12/01/2017 01:31PM


Over the past two weeks, faculty, administrators, and Ramaz guests have been marveling at our 4th graders as they presented their STEAM Tank inventions to fellow classmates and mock business investors. What started with a unit on electromagnetism, quickly turned into an interdisciplinary, collaborative, and thoughtful journey into an engineering design project that challenged students across a range of disciplines.

With the help of their science and technology instructors, groups of students identified problems they felt passionate about--those that only magnets could help solve. From "magnetic skateboards" that fold up into lockers and "ninja grips" that prevent children from slipping off monkey bars to "magic umbrellas" that no longer flip in the wind and "magna-bottles" that never fall out of a backpack, our students took to designing their prototypes, and particularly enjoyed working with their friends to test and revise their designs.

Once their models were complete, students changed gears and went into writing mode, crafting their product pitches, and eventually filming short advertisement clips featuring their custom slogans, with interspersed moments of laughter and excitement. Their positive energy was matched by their exceptional quick-thinking as the projects culminated with the "Shark Tank" presentations, where classmates and teachers questioned students about the performance and quality of their inventions. To see one of the pitches to the "sharks," please click here.

There is something deeply satisfying in witnessing a child's mind working off personal curiosity and inspiration, and watching them sense the growth of their own potential. During the presentations, it was clear that each group of children went through a process of authentic inquiry and preparation necessary to share their ideas with confidence, creativity, and clarity.

All of that would have made for an incredible unit, but there was an additional inspiring ingredient that left us touched--the student "shout-outs" to one another at the end of the period, where each child was bubbling with the desire to thank a teacher to the right or compliment a friend to the left. To see some of these special shout outs, please click here.

It is not an exaggeration that hearing the students acknowledge and celebrate one another for their efforts gave forth a renewed sense of nachat -- teachers are even thinking of calling the unit STEAMM (with the extra M for menschlichkeit). If they can reflect upon and shout-out to their peers about what another person has accomplished or contributed to their learning experience, then they are truly internalizing the concept of Hineni, of community, and the value of each person within it.

Many thanks to all the teachers, administrators, and "sharks" who helped make this unit so meaningful for our students. A special shout-out to Stephen Halpern and Beverly Lermer (LS Art Teachers) and Naomi Ickowitz (Educational Technology Teacher).

Please take a moment to enjoy this slideshow and album of our 4th grade STEAM Tank!

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