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‘STEM’ulating Stratford’s young minds

Students learn life skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs

February 19, 2019

Design students learn by ‘doing’

STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, has become an important part of many students school day.

The design program began four years ago as an after school club and has since developed into becoming many students’ elective.

This class has contributed to Stratford in many ways. It created the Design Lab that is now in the second floor of the library, building the chairs and bookcases. They also developed the gallery found outside the room. Last year, they made games that teachers could use to help teach their class. This year, they are constructing chairs.

Design students also learn how to use programs such as SketchUp to help them with their projects.

Design teacher Mr. Mike Kelley explained that he hopes people gain “creative intelligence” by taking this class.

“There is a tendency in too many schools to think that someone is really smart just because they memorize a lot of stuff,” Mr. Kelley said. “But, if they can’t do anything with it, they’re not really all that smart, so we emphasize doing.”

Next year, they plan on expanding by contributing to communities outside of Stratford.

Enrichment program fosters teamwork

Despite being a catchy acronym, STEM is a class Middle School students participate in as an enrichment. The program stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and students are able to apply these skills in different shapes and forms (literally).

Ms. Lindsey Morse, the STEM teacher and Latin teacher for middle school, teaches three sixth-grade STEM classes. Each student takes STEM for one-third of the academic year. Ms. Morse is part of Destination Imagination, which is an organization that teaches STEM to students by the use of design and challenges. During the class, the students are split into teams, and each team is given a set of problems to solve. Some of these problems consist of building  different sculptures or designs.

“You and your team are given a challenge and a time limit, and you have to build or solve something using very limited supplies,” Ms. Morse said.

Ms. Morse also teaches Coding in the seventh grade. In this enrichment class, students use the website,,  which is a free site that teaches the basics of coding. It has other interesting features such as “app designing, which some, after they’ve done the basics, are going and looking into designing their own apps, which is pretty cool,” Ms. Morse said.

She also teaches Robotics, which is a class her eighth-graders take part time in the year. The class follows the “Arduino” and “Lego Mindstorm” models. The “Arduino Model” uses the “hummingbird” processing board, where lights, motors, and sensors are connected for students to design robots however they please. “The Lego Mindstorm” model is where students put Lego pieces together with a set of directions to create a robot.


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