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MHS freshmen go cross-curricular
Freshman class completes biome STEM project
By Eric Stoff, stoffe@maconaquah.k12.in.us

Having one school project that follows you around to multiple classes for weeks might seem overwhelming, but Maconaquah High School freshmen Logan Schultz and Caleb Winegardner enjoyed it.

  

For the last few weeks, Schultz, Winegardner, and the rest of the MHS freshmen class have been working on a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) project across various classes. The students have been working in groups of three or four on the project, which was centered around biomes, or communities of plants and animals in different climates, and they presented their findings early this week.

“It definitely (took) teamwork,” said Schultz. “I liked it a lot.”

Winegardner agreed.

“Each group had their own biome, but when they presented in class, a bunch of people could learn (a variety of) information,” he said.

MHS Science Department Head Ashley Sutton said this is the second year for the STEM project, and the projects were “outstanding” this year. The project’s objective was for students to grasp the impact one human decision or natural disaster can have on an entire biome.

Schultz and Winegardner said they researched a biome that they were assigned, and theirs was a steppe, which is a blend of grassland and desert found around the Rocky Mountains. Then they had to research a potential natural disaster for their biome. For steppes, the likely natural disaster is a wild fire.

Students then used math skills to create data graphs of the animals that live in the biome, English skills to communicate their research through Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), technology skills to create an appealing Prezi presentation, and engineering skills to create a diorama of the biome.

Winegardner said freshmen at MHS completed STEM projects when they were in middle school, but those were one-day events. This project required steady work over a couple weeks.

“This project, although infused with many biology concepts, really helps students begin to master those soft skills employers and other teachers are looking for,” Sutton said. She listed teamwork and collaboration, effective communication, and presentation skills among those attributes.

Schultz said communication was key for his group because science class was the only time he was with his group members. Everything else was completed over email or on Google Docs.

 

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