If you were around campus at all during the end of the 2012-13 school year then you had to have witnessed 7th and 8th graders employing their impressive math and science skills to design and build boats from recycled materials. On June 1, 2013, several students raced one of the boats in the Hiawassee River Watershed Coalition’s Crazy Float Contest. After a gruesome head-to-head that lasted almost an hour, the TLC! team came in a close second!
Seventh and eighth grade math teacher, Chris Crayton and seventh and eighth grade science teacher, Rachel Roberts coordinated the effort. “Students designed and built boats out of recycled and repurposed material like milk cartons, water bottles and soda bottles,” said Roberts. “They calculated the volume of bottles necessary to displace the weight of four students.”
Roberts explained that this was a STEM project-based learning activity. STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is a nationwide effort to place more emphasis on these subjects in schools. “The STEM methodology embraces trial and error,” said Mary Jo Dyre, director of The Learning Center. “Teachers are taking on the role of facilitators for problem solving, helping students learn from these trial and error learning experiences.”