The beginning of the 2019-20 school year has been an exciting and engaging time for students in the STEM Lab, in the St. James’ garden, and at the Louisiana Arts and Science Museum. Students have studied chemistry through hands-on investigations while learning about matter and its properties and physical and chemical changes. “Bubbles,” “Mystery Substances and Solids,” and “Liquids and Gases” have been a few of the lessons studied to further students’ basic understanding of chemistry. Students also have followed best safety practices in their STEM chemistry classes while wearing their new splash proof safety goggles! 

Thanks to the St. James Cub Scouts Pack 5, we will be studying pollinators soon! Cub Master Mike Rabalais, Cub Scouts and their parents planted multiple pollinating plants in the garden that have inspired students to create art and poetry in celebration of this beautiful addition to the St. James campus. Curriculum developed by the Boston Museum of Science Engineering is Elementary Program (EiE) will be used to teach students about pollination using the garden as our living lab! 

All K-5th graders recently visited the Louisiana Arts and Science Museum (LASM) to view two special exhibitions including “Astral Visions: Photographs by Conner Matherne,” which exposed students to the world of astrophotography, and “Frameworks of Absence: Brandon Ballengee,” which gave students the opportunity to view the work of an artist and biologist advocating for the stewardship of our environment. Students used their newly created Science See and Sketch notebooks to record their observations of endangered and extinct animals while touring the exhibit. 

Numerous parents have volunteered to assist in the STEM lab, and this volunteer program is proving to be invaluable! A 4th and 5th grade STEM Club will be established for those students interested in assisting in multiple projects throughout the year. More information will be forthcoming. 

Robotic Units are also being planned for the spring for all K-5th grade students using the Photon Robot and a Family Science Night will take place during the second semester. Our St. James STEM Lab’s goals for the year are to foster students’ curiosity, promote critical and creative thinking, instill a love for learning, and to inspire students to become lifelong learners through rich and dynamic experiences! Please view the photos included to see the evidence of wonder and awe that takes place each day through the St. James STEM LAB! 

– Tammy Wood, STEM Enrichment Teacher