STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math
In the Kiby's Mill Fab Lab, students in grade K-5 will explore multiple topics associated with STEM, including engineering, makerspace, and computer science units. 
If you stop by the KM Fab Lab, you may see students:
  • Learning about different fields of engineering
  • Collaborating with peers to work through the Engineering Design Process
  • Constructing and testing their of creations
  • Coding with different robotics
  • Using the Google G-Suite on Chromebooks
  • Practicing digital citizenship
  • Building on the Lego Wall
See below for more specifics of our STEM program at Kirby's Mill!
1st Grade: To Get to the Other Side: Designing Bridges
This unit introduces the principles behind bridge design with the storybook Javier Builds a Bridge, about a boy who needs a safe footbridge to get to his island play fort. Students will reinforce their understanding of “push” and “pull” as they explore how forces act on different structures. They’ll use what they know about balance and force as they experiment with beam, arch, and suspension bridges—and learn how bridge designs counteract and redirect forces and motion. In the final design challenge, students plan, build, and test their own bridges.

2nd Grade: A Work in Process: Improving a Play Dough Process
If you’ve ever followed a recipe, you know that the amount of each ingredient and the order in which you mix them matters. Chemical engineers use these same principles when designing processes. When students read the storybook Michelle’s MVP Award, they learn about a girl who designs a better way to make play-dough. The activities in this unit reinforce the science concepts “solid” and “liquid” as students explore the properties of different materials—and the properties of mixtures of materials. The final engineering design challenge? Design a process for making high-quality play dough.

3rd Grade: The Attraction is Obvious: Designing Maglev Systems
Innovative “maglev” or magnetic levitation trains move by using magnets instead of wheels. The technological innovation behind these trains comes alive for students in this transportation engineering unit. Students will send magnets sailing, help magnets hover and poke around magnetic fields. With their new insights into the science of magnets, students will use the engineering design process to design, test, and improve their own tabletop maglev transportation systems—just like the character in the storybook Hikaru’s Toy Troubles.

4th Grade: A Stick in the Mud: Evaluating a Landscape
The storybook that anchors this unit, Suman Crosses the Karnali River, takes students to Nepal, where people rely on innovative cable bridges called TarPuls to cross flooded rivers during monsoon season. Digging into the role of geotechnical engineers, students must select a safe, flood-proof, and erosion-proof location for a new TarPul. Working with a model riverbank, they study soil properties, examine maps to assess the potential for erosion at different sites along the river, and factor in the villagers’ preferences for a TarPul location.

5th Grade: A Slick Solution: Cleaning an Oil Spill
An oil spill can be deadly for fish, plants, and other organisms in the river ecosystem. Through the storybook Tehya’s Pollution Solution, students learn about a spill on the Elwha River in the Pacific Northwest. Applying their knowledge of ecosystems and food webs, students will test water quality and also the oil-absorbing properties of different materials as they engineer a process for cleaning up an oil spill. This unit introduces students to the field of environmental engineering.
Makerspace allows students to get hands-on experience with creating and testing their ideas.  These projects can be anything from building a toothpick tower to designing and creating a balloon car.  These units and lessons give students in grades K-5 the chance to:
  • Understand and practice the Engineering Design Process: ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve
  • Work with peers to use accountable talk, communicate effectively, and act as team members with specific roles
  • Recognize the goals of Growth Mindset: imagination, creativity, and perseverance
  • Accept failure and understand that it is a necessary part to being successful
  • Explore and manipulate materials
Coming Soon!