Developing a Culture of Science: Fixing Bicycle Chains 2012
Our science curriculum at both the middle school and upper school fosters this culture of science. Middle school programs include Flight Day, Exploravision, The Egg Drop and The Garden Program. Upper school students can participate in the extensive STEM curriculum and the entire SLS community is invited to participate in the Rube Goldberg Challenge.
A culture of inquiry across the curriculum helps kindle a Break/Fix, Imagine/Create culture that accepts failure as a necessity in the learning process. Katherine Gerety, Middle School Science teacher, shared with parents a quote she uses often in her classes, “99% of all experiments fail...but failure opens the door to success.” Ms. Gerety went on to explain, “We're not trying to create mini-scientists, we're trying to instill scientific thinking. That is a critical skill for life. Using inquiry in a classroom allows students to think critically, question ideas, and come to their own conclusions. There is not always a “right” conclusion to draw from inquiry activities; rather these activities cause students to explore different possibilities.” She described to the audience the first ever Flight Day project that was showcased at Homecoming last weekend and showed an amazing video capturing the overwhelming excitement of the the middle school pilot teams. "We wanted to create a fun, exciting way to entice more Middle School students to embrace their own creativity, curiosity and scientific thinking. We told the kids to build something that would fly. We gave very few guidelines and were thrilled that over 100 middle school students participated. The many crashes were as fun and exciting as the flights. The kids understood that we were learning through the successes and failures."
In addition to Michael Mitchell, and Katherine Gerety sharing the exciting experiential learning in the science program, Jim Foley, Director of The Center for Leadership, discussed his vision for St. Luke's taking a leadership role in connecting our students to that culture of science that exists in places such as Silicon Valley. Jim expressed, "A culture of science is not highly visible in Fairfield County. Not ingrained. However, it’s growing, and we’re in perfect position to capitalize, ride that wave. Our efforts here at St. Luke's can be a foundation for the science of culture in this area." The presentation ended with many thoughtful questions from the audience. Thanks to Kathryn Gerety, Jim Foley and Mike Mitchell for their engaging and thought-provoking presentations. Check out the Flight Day video.
Michelle Graczyk is a current parent at SLS and VP of Communications for the Parents' Association