Teacher Experience: “Efficiency Expert: Zoo” Task for 4th Grade Math & Science Students
A Defined STEM Learning Experience From:
4 th -Grade Math and Science Enrichment Teacher
Endeavor Elementary (OH)
Efficiency Expert: Zoos
Here’s What We Did:
As efficiency experts, students performed research to analyze the day-to- day operations of running a zoo. In their research, students discovered habitat designs for different species and how much space each animal needs to live in in a happy, health environment. As many students have a deep love for animals, they were eager to research to see if zoo animals are “happy” and what zoos can do to make each species live a fulfilled and long life. Students had a choice to create a budget analysis of how much new habitats, etc. would cost, an artist rendering of the perfect habitat for an animal of their choice, a multimedia or oral presentation, or a research paper/report.
Why Defined STEM Was the Perfect Fit:
With 10 being the highest, I would say that 98% of my students are at a 10 level of motivation. Before giving students options, I take an inventory of student interests to better shape the lesson to what they desire to learn. Defined STEM offers such a wide variety of lessons aligning with state and district standards, I’m able to give students a choice between four or five projects to complete. Allowing them to take ownership in their learning creates a wonderful teacher/student dynamic, building trust, confidence, and motivation. Defined STEM works because I’m able to align student interests with real-world problems students truly care about. The videos and articles are so helpful, and are exactly the support they need to make them think deeply about the subjects. The rubrics for the individual literacy prompts are very beneficial, as I have seen each student grow and improve over time.