Roncalli Elementary students take charge of their own learning in STREAMLab

By  | 

ABERDEEN, S.D. Getting students prepared for the real world can be difficult, but one Hub City school has a STREAMLab to make hands-on learning a step in the right direction.

Roncalli Elementary School staff is basing their STREAM initiative off of the STEM one. The "r" stands for religion while "a" stands for arts. It's a lab designed to challenge students to expand their thinking.

"From critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity, those four C's are based on what employers need from their workers," Roncalli Elementary School STREAMLab Facilitator Jennifer Goscicki said.

Goscicki is considered the facilitator and not the teacher because she's allowing students to work with each other or research a question before coming to her. So technically, she's not "teaching" her students.

Each student in the elementary school rotates through different areas each week from robotics to circuitry to programming. Each work peninsula has a variety of tasks to complete. This week, Austin Maina and his partner were building a monster truck using IQ-Key on their computer. Taking pictures of the process and figuring out what part goes where is a way to teach teamwork and building skills. At the end of each week, the students have to give a presentation to the class to show what they accomplished and how they did it.

Making mistakes is a big part of the process in the STREAMLab. It's something Goscicki encourages each day because she knows that soon enough, the student will figure out the solution with hard work.

"Mrs. Goscicki, our facilitator, she says that we should be happy for mistakes because you can't learn about it if.. you learn off your mistakes," fifth grader Maina said.

The Aberdeen Catholic School District hopes Roncalli will be the first Pre-K to 12th grade certified STEM school in South Dakota by next year. Right now, 7-12 teachers are getting the STEM certification at Northern State University. The hope is to bring in a lab just like the one at the elementary school into the high school.

For more information on the STREAMLab, you can visit the link to the right of the article.