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STEM Missions

A unique team-based instructional approach introduces students at an early age to the concept of working as a team to solve problems and explore STEM careers. The structure is intended to mimic real-world scientific exploration, and students complete the curriculum while developing critical soft skills such as teamwork and communication.

Curriculum Titles

DESCRIPTION
3-D Dinosaur is filled with fossils and dinosaurs. Students learn about fossils, dinosaurs, and the Mesozoic era.

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT

  • Name the three periods in the Mesozoic era.
  • List two types of living things that can become fossils.
  • Name the two people involved in the Bone Wars.
  • Name two reasons that fossils become visible.
ACTIVITIES
  • Use a computer to watch a presentation on the Mesozoic era.
  • Make fossil rubbings and look at real fossils.
  • Put together a dinosaur skeleton.
  • Learn about Greek and Latin roots in dinosaur names.
  • Create and name a dinosaur.
  • Sort dinosaur cards into herbivores and carnivores.

 

DESCRIPTION

In Air and Water, students learn about Earth’s dynamic systems of air and water. Students investigate Earth’s atmosphere, the water cycle, weather forecasting, and how water is cleaned.

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT

  • Name the four parts of the water cycle.
  • Name three layers of the atmosphere.
  • Explain why the Sun causes weather.
  • Explain how weather moves across the United States.

ACTIVITIES

  • Draw arcs and label the atmosphere.
  • Make clouds using cotton balls.
  • Model the hydrologic process.
  • Practice forecasting weather.
  • Test water and model the amount of each type of water on Earth.
  • Learn how sewer systems clean water.

 

DESCRIPTION
In Air Everywhere, students study air – clean and polluted. Students also study how the air can keep airplanes in the sky.

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT

  • Name the two things that make up 99% of the air.
  • Explain what a noble gas is and name one.
  • Explain why hydrogen is not used in blimps and balloons and compare the weight of helium to hydrogen.
  • Explain how carbon dioxide and oxygen are important to plants.
ACTIVITIES
  • Prove air occupies space and contains molecules that have an odor.
  • See air bubbles in ice cubes.
  • Make a model of parts of the respiratory system.
  • Build and test a parachute.
  • Chart how air pollution can travel.

 

DESCRIPTION
In Air Power, students learn about the power of air. Students also learn that wind can push sails to make boats and cars move and that air can be compressed and used to do work. Air can make waves.

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT

  • Identify the term for moving air and the type of energy it contains.
  • Explain how a pneumatic device differs from a hydraulic device.
  • Name two uses for compressed air.
  • Identify two benefits of using compressed air.
ACTIVITIES
  • Design, build, and race sail cars.
  • Design and build a pneumatic machine.
  • Create waves using wind power.
  • Create and demonstrate pinwheels.
  • Demonstrate that wind can create electricity.

 

DESCRIPTION

In Animal Adaptations, students learn about animals. Students also learn about animals’ unique features and about how these features help them to survive.

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT

  • Name the two main types of adaptations.
  • Explain how the functions of lungs and gills are similar.
  • Name the structural adaptation that birds have to keep them warm.
  • Name two ways that animals use camouflage.

ACTIVITIES

  • Learn about the two main kinds of adaptations – behavioral and structural.
  • Experiment with camouflage.
  • Experiment with ways that animals keep their bodies at the right temperature.
  • Look at features that allow animals to live in the water.
  • Look at features that allow animals to live on land.
  • Make Venn diagrams.
  • Learn about one special adaptation – flight.

 

DESCRIPTION

Animal Survival takes students on a journey to show them the amazing animals we have in our world. Students explore ways these animals manage to stay alive as they fight for survival in the wild world.

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT

  • Name three animals that produce thousands of eggs.
  • Give three examples of evolution.
  • Name two ways animals adapt to temperatures.
  • Name the three classifications given to animals based on what they eat.

ACTIVITIES

  • Play a game to learn about evolution.
  • Watch a presentation and play a game to learn about ecosystems and animal adaptation.
  • Play a game to learn about competition for resources.
  • Learn about food chains and food webs.
  • Watch a presentation and play a game to learn about natural defenses and endangered species.

 

DESCRIPTION
In Animals, students learn about vertebrates and invertebrates. Students also learn about adaptation, survival, habitats, and life cycles.

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT

  • Give an example of an invertebrate and a vertebrate.
  • Show a skeleton rubbing and explain how the animal is adapted for movement.
  • Give an example of camouflage and of mimicry.
  • Show how pill bugs and sow bugs respond to touch and to moisture.
ACTIVITIES
  • View a computer presentation on animal diversity.
  • Make skeleton rubbings.
  • Observe and touch pill bugs and sow bugs.
  • Create animals based on adaptations.
  • Order the life cycle of a butterfly and a frog.

 

DESCRIPTION
In Body, By Golly, students learn about body systems and germs. Students also test their muscles and explore the skeleton.

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT

  • Explain how the nose keeps germs from entering the body.
  • Name the bones in the arm.
  • Name the bones in the leg.
  • Explain at least two functions of the skeleton.
ACTIVITIES
  • Use the body to measure distances.
  • Test hand-eye coordination.
  • Test the muscles.
  • Build a skeleton.
  • Learn which side of the brain is dominant for each student.

 

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