MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

September 28, 2013

Grandparents help with science, tech and math


— Benjamin Franklin Science Academy students held their usual STEM Friday activities, but with a special twist.

Three third-grade classes invited their grandparents, or “grand-friends,” to visit the school and participate in a special activity, making birdfeeders from pine cones, peanut butter and bird seed.

More than 35 grandparents or other loved ones attended, helping make the feeders and getting covered in peanut butter along the way.

Third-grade teacher Donna Lorenz said she and the other teachers decided to combine Grandparent’s Day with their regular Friday activities.

“Our hope is the grandparents can take these home, hang them outside their window, sit in their favorite chair and watch the birds eat,” she said. “And it will make them think of their precious grandbabies learning over here at Franklin too.”

BFSA STEM Fridays are an important part of the magnet school, which focuses on “STEM” — science, technology, engineering and mathematics, according to a media release.

Principal Tonya Cox said BFSA created and is in the process of implementing the PHEOC Project which encompasses all of the elements of STEM.  

“At BFSA, we use the acronym PHEOC to refer to the processes in the Scientific Method: P is for purpose; H is for hypothesis; E is for experiment; O is for observe; and C is for conclusion,” Cox said in the release. “Our goal for BFSA is to be known as ‘Trailblazers’ in creating scientists for the 21st century.”

 Though “STEM” is incorporated daily, experiments usually take place during our weekly “STEM Fridays.”

During the staff’s weekly PLC (Professional Learning Community) meetings in the fall of 2012, they focused on creating “Scope and Sequence/Pacing Guides” for pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade around the following four disciplines of science: Physical and engineering, geology and meteorology, life and environmental, and technology.

Nine weeks are spent on each discipline. At the end of each nine week period, BFSA has a “Benchmark-Showcase Day.”