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Versatile Creator Packs Work with Virtual and Summer Learners

Published October 29, 2021

Additional STEM Box article[s]:

FLEMINGTON, NJ – Over the course of six months, the Flemington-Raritan Regional School District purchased 265 Pitsco STEM Creator Packs designed for use with intermediate (Grades 5-6) and middle school (Grades 7-8) students.

“We had two different opportunities for students to work in our Project STEM Club,” said Math Supervisor Kristen Wolff. “The first opportunity was a virtual learning experience that occurred from February through April. This consisted of approximately 16 sessions with six teachers. . . . Each group had 16-20 students in it. These sessions met virtually, twice per week for about 45 minutes per class session.”

For the virtual learners, kits were sent home from school or picked up by families. The teachers then guided the hands-on exploration and learning via Zoom sessions. “Despite the obvious obstacles for trying to conduct virtual hands-on experiences, the teachers did a fabulous job of engaging the learners,” Wolff said.

The second learning opportunity was over the summer, when the district hosted an in-person Project STEM Club for two weeks, totaling approximately 16 hours for each of six groups of about 15 students. Because the activities were in person, the teachers were able to have students work collaboratively in small groups to complete their projects, said Wolff. “It was clear that the summer learning opportunity was filled with positive energy from the students and staff alike.”

“The best part is they’re getting the hands-on, practical experience of doing the activity and working through all the logistics and the questions of how it would work. It’s not just a bunch of theory and ideas. They’re actually doing the activity, which is going to be valuable for them to take into the classroom because they will know what to expect.”

– Joseph Santos, principal, Vista View Middle School, Fountain Valley, California

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