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S.T.E.A.M. @ EES

Mirroring our school district’s focus on the growth mindset, at Ephesus we believe that all students have the ability to increase their intelligence through purposeful and sustained effort. We also believe that as 21st century teachers, we have the responsibility to provide our students with authentic, embedded learning opportunities that will prepare them for the future. Through STEAM integration at EES, we hope to harness the creative energy of our students through innovative teaching and authentic project-based learning while providing all learners the opportunity to stretch their thinking.

Part of our effort includes our "makerspace". We are calling this space the "Ephesus Exploratorium" and our vision is that it will serve as an innovative learning hub where students can engage in thinking through tinkering, problem solving & collaboration. To read more about the "maker movement" and it's impact on teaching and
learning, click HERE.

We are also looking to collaborate with parents and local businesses. In addition, we are seeking out grants to expand our work. Ephesus is fortunate to exist in a location saturated with STEM-related universities & businesses. Recently, Research Triangle Park was one of seven areas in the country that have been named winners of a White House competition to encourage mentoring in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Take a look at the article HERE. We would love to be a part of this movement in our area. If you are interested in partnering with us, or just want to find out more, please email Allison White, the Instructional Technology Facilitator at Ephesus (awhite@chccs.k12.nc.us)

The Ephesus STEAM TEAM...A Bit of Background
In February, a team of teachers from Ephesus Elementary - Allison White, (Instructional Technology Facilitator), Becky Baker (AIG), Katherine Andrews (Math & Science Specialist), Kirsten Venema (ESL) and Teresa Kanu (EC) - headed to the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) in Cullowhee, NC. They wrote a Research & Development proposal titled, Full STEAM Ahead: Integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics Through Project-based Learning Opportunities. During their time at NCCAT, this team reviewed research on STEAM in elementary schools, designed a frameworkfor integration at Ephesus and created enrichment extension opportunities for our diverse group of students based on the STEAM principles. Their work incorporates the researched-based Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol Model (SIOP) as a framework for planning in order to reach all of our learners including our ESL, EC and other populations. Since NCCAT, our team has expanded to include Kara O'Dor, Media/Tech Assistant and Sloane Akos, Librarian. 

What’s with the A in STEAM?
Research in cognitive and social neuroscience shows that arts activities enhance creativity, problem solving, memory systems, and analytical skills - all critical for STEM success.
(Sousa & Pilecki, 2013)
Our Mission                                                                               To prepare and inspire ALL Ephesus students to meet the challenges of our ever-changing global society through applied critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, collaboration and communication.

Our Vision
To harness the creative energy of our students through innovative teaching and authentic project-based learning while providing all learners the opportunity to stretch their thinking. STEAM integration will increase student engagement, raise motivation, focus on relevant issues and develop in students the ability to plan, design, reflect and adapt.  

Goals of Our STEAM Initiative

  • Provide the tools and space for creativity, exploration and invention
  • Foster a culture of inquiry among students and teachers
  • Emphasize connections in the fields of math, science, technology and engineering through integrated studies and investigations.
  • Meaningfully integrate technology
  • Engage students in the engineering design process
  • Make explicit connections with local universities, Ephesus parents/community members and businesses to link student and teacher learning with current practice

Examples of Projects 

Since Fall 2013, STEAM is happening all over Ephesus. Here are just a few examples of projects.

In June 2014, third graders put their heads together in a STEM engineering challenge designing rubber band rockets which would launch to the greatest height. Students designed, tested, evaluated and re-designed paper cup rockets. There was great excitement when one design finally reached the ceiling when launched! 

In May 2014, our fifth graders investigated the topics of radiation, conduction and convection with a series of experiments and observations to help them gain a better understanding of heat transfer. Over three afternoons, students rotate
d through twelve stations designed to be hands-on investigative experiences and experiments. The STEAM team as well as the 5th grade teachers and teaching assistants led the investigations. Each small group of students recorded their thinking and learning usingan iPad as their Lab Notebook. In it they documented the experiences with videos and photos and took notes using text, 
labels and voice recording. One fifth grader commented
that "I thought it was great because I am a hands-on learner and there was lots of that. This lab idea really "up-ed" my learning! It was a very fun experience to see science through all the stations and understand it better."

In March 2014, third grade classes participated in the "Geodesic Dome Engineering Challenge"! Using only a box of toothpicks and a bag of jelly beans, groups of students designed and constructed domes with the goal of creating a structure that would support the greatest amount of weight

In December 2013 and 2014, all Ephesus students participated in the Hour of Code. To read more about this project, click HERE