A message from Principal Simpson…
If you’ve read BFA newsletters the past few weeks, you’ll clearly see the positive influence our Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Committee has at BFA. Year after year, they expand their efforts to enrich our already rigorous STEM curriculum.
Through their many programs, students learn the mechanics behind simple machines, they’re encouraged to test scientific theories, solve problems and take measured risks. Our STEM committee is dedicated to helping students flourish, and is continuously coming up with new avenues for our students to learn about STEM fields as well as offer opportunities for them tobe successful using their unique talents and gifts.
Although, they are by no means done with their work this school year, I thought it appropriate to highlight some of their accomplishments to date:
Continental Math League – STEM purchased the registration for this advanced math program because it offers fun math challenges for participants in grades 3-8. The program gives students the opportunity to work through difficult math challenges and find new ways to discover solutions–teaching them problem-solving strategies needed for all areas of life. BFA students can compete in six meets throughout the year, and see how we compare to other schools in the state and nationally, as well as how we compare individually.
Math Olympiad Club/Competition – Ms. Svensen, and STEM volunteers Abhijit Sur and Dee Duncan run a Math Olympiad Club that meets once a week for students who want to further challenge themselves in Math. Last month they organized our first fifth through eighth grade Math Olympiad problem-solving event where 26 students from BFA competed against 15 kids from Platte River Academy (PRA). This was a fantastic opportunity for kids who excel at math to have a friendly competition with their peers and be recognized for their problem-solving skills. They’ll be another competition in early May.
STEAM Expo – This event is designed to expose K-8 students to the subjects of science, technology, engineering, arts and math in a fun and experiential way. Kids have a chance to see real world applications of what they learn about in school, and are exposed to potential STEAM careers they could pursue. This year, more than 900 BFA students enjoyed visiting 28 stations, with nine vendors and many, many parent volunteers.
Fruit Toss Club – BFA Board at-large director and STEM liaison, Matt Keillor, led an after school club to teach kids how to build an accurate trebuchet. Participants developed their engineering and math skills while working with professional Punkin Chunkin champion, John Heffelfinger. The club went on to compete in the Colorado Punkin Chunkin event, winning third place in the youth category.
BFA Punkin Chunkin – This school-wide STEM event is a favorite of both staff and students. This year, kids were able to see the award-winning trebuchet, Red Lightning, in action as several students and teachers launched 5-pound pumpkins toward Tom, the blow-up turkey target 200 feet away. Kids had a blast while learning how simple machines work and the principles of basic physics.
Hour of Code Weeks – While our teachers do a fantastic job of planning for Hour of Code weeks, they are happy to have the support of our STEM Committee. This year, STEM purchased two Osmo Coding kits for Mrs. Ward’s K-2 students to provide an introduction to basic coding concepts.
Middle School Science Fair – STEM volunteers organized the science fair from start to finish. They handled event logistics, coordinated with Mrs. Molnar, and provided guidance in the form of assigning mentors, organizing/training judges, and conducting the science fair event. They selected the top 20 science fair entries, then helped the kids understand how to compete at a regional level. STEM also funded registrations for the four kids that chose to participate in the regional science fair. They are currently working on the K-5 Science Fair, which will be held on April 12.
Destination Imagination (DI) – DI is a fun, hands-on system of learning that fosters students’ creativity, courage and curiosity through open-ended academic challenges in the fields of STEAM, fine arts and service learning. This program is led by parent volunteer managers; and we’re happy that six BFA teams are participating in the regional competition this Saturday (see article below).
Green Team – All the staff and students appreciate the recycling efforts of our Green Team! This student-led program is sponsored by Ms. Svensen and supported by STEM volunteerTiffany Beffel. Watch for more to come from this group in the future, as they are investigating other ideas to keep BFA GREEN!
Math Counts State Competition – STEM also helped pay for the Math Counts State Competition this April. We’ll be sending a fifth grade and a sixth grade team to compete.
Thank you to our STEM Committee and all the volunteers who support their efforts! What you do each year makes a significant difference to our students.