Scintillating S.E.M. STEM Stations

Magic wands are flying, cocoa puffs are swirling, and plants are blooming at P.S. 307 every Thursday from
1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. These are some of the projects that students work on during their “S.E.M. STEM
Station.” S.E.M. stands for Schoolwide Enrichment Model. It is an enrichment program used with gifted and talented students and as a magnet enrichment model for all students. This model is coordinated by Ms. Narine, the school’s Magnet Resource Specialist. The goal of integrating S.E.M. STEM into P.S.307 is to develop the strengths and talents of all students while exploring the multifaceted fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The S.E.M. STEM Stations are 15 separate classrooms with varying themes led by a teacher per classroom. To participate, students must be in grades 3, 4 or 5. Of the 15 available stations, students must select three options and they will be placed in one of their three options. These stations include: Advocating with Direct Action, Book Bloggers, Brilliant Beading, Business of Beautiful Nails, Dance for Your Life, Growing Minds, Harry Potter Muggles, Around, the IncrEDIBLES, Kids Kloset, P.S. 307 S.T.A.R. Upstanders, Step and Rhythm, Stress Busters, Taste Buds, and York Street STEM Drama Troupe.

The students are enthusiastic and productive in these stations. Brandon, a participant at the Harry Muggles station, is building a Harry Potter wand said, “being in the S.E.M. STEM Stations is fun because I get to do things that have never done before.” At another station, Business of Beautiful Nails, students are not only learning about the aesthetics of colors and painting but the business side to it. The teacher said that at the end of the school year, students will do a fundraiser. They will provide nail services to staff for a small fee. As part of their project, they will use math to calculate the costs and profits. Across the hallway, at the incrEdibles station, students are coming up with their own original recipes that are healthy and delectable. One student commented that he especially enjoys the class because he likes to cook for his mother. He said, “I cook breakfast for my mom. I noticed that my mom doesn’t eat breakfast and I would make her one.” The class serves as a creative channel for him to come up with different ways to make food for his parent.

The underlying approach to the S.E.M. STEM Stations is that they are adult-guided but student-driven. While teachers are giving out instructions and are supervising the classroom, students are deciding what they want to work on and how they will accomplish their goals. As stated by Ms. Tara D’Andrea, “students love it and teachers love it because students are taking charge of their learning.” Students final productions are presented during the last week of school in May. We can’t wait to see their project outcomes!

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