Morris County educators Marisa Castronova of Robert R. Lazar Middle School and Jess Shackil of Intervale Elementary School, partnered to create STEM PALS. This cross-graded, cross-district project was awarded a $10,000 Hipp grant to connect students and teachers to a larger scientific community.

A pilot of the project connected approximately 20 seventh-grade students with third-grade students in another district to work together to learn science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Referring to each other as STEM PALS, each group generated questions that became the basis of different STEM PALS challenges that were solved by each pairing working together. A field trip to bring the STEM PALS together will allow the mentorship to culminate in face-to-face interactions. Students will build upon their experiences and choose appropriate high school level STEM courses.

As a result of the pilot, approximately 20 STEM PALS members at Lazar (grades 7-8) will engage in STEM PALS activities and challenges with Intervale elementary students. Challenges will require consumables from local stores and science vendors.

Each STEM PALS grouping will have access to iPads and Chromebooks during their work sessions. Resources will be used to video record work progress, access Internet resources for research, create documents and presentation, share and archive digital pictures, and communicate with their cross-district STEM PALS via email and blogs. Real-time collaboration will be done via webcam. STEM challenges will incorporate the use of 3-D printing technology and the software that drives it.

A field trip will bring STEM PALS together to experience a day of STEM-related activities.

Digital cameras will be used to take pictures of student work sessions that can be showcased during a Community Outreach Night. Guest speakers will make presentations to students throughout the year about STEM related careers. As a result, students can build upon their experiences and choose appropriate high school level STEM courses.

For further information, contact:

Maria Castronva
(973) 331-7100 (Robert R. Lazar Middle School)

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