Albany’s Montessori School Is Educating Students in Grades 3-5 about STEM Related Subjects

Flying Classroom takes off (from Albany Montessori newletter)

Did you know that over the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs
has been three times faster than growth in non-STEM jobs,
and that STEM workers are less likely to experience joblessness
than their non-STEM counterparts? In fact, businesses frequently
voice concerns over the short supply and availability of STEM
workers.
While this may be a problem for businesses, it is certainly an
excellent opportunity for those interested in science, technology,
engineering and math. In an effort to provide both the spark to
enter these fields and the hands-on collaborative experience
21st century learners must have, the City School District of Albany
has partnered with Captain Barrington Irving and his organization
“The Flying Classroom”.
While you may have heard of this program through SNN or directly
from your children in grades 3-5, you may still wonder
what the exactly the program is.
The Flying Classroom focuses on the work of Captain Barrington Irving, a Jamaican who at 23 years of age became the youngest
person to fly around the world. His adventures did not stop with that accomplishment however. He continued to explore beyond
his initial journey, with the documentation of his work becoming the foundation on which many of the Flying Classroom
lessons are based. Students are presented with standards-aligned lessons which challenge them to work collaboratively to complete tasks and meet challenges focused on a variety of STEM concepts. The Apple store at Crossgates has participated in teaching coding and other STEM related programs ;Montessori was fortunate to have been included
in the introductory year for the program. During this first year, students in grades 3-5 will be taking part in a truncated version of
the greater curriculum, with an eye on expanding the offerings in 2018-19.
To give a sense of what just what students may tackle within the program, fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Walton shared the following:
“The fifth-graders completed their first full mission using the Flying Classroom curriculum. We learned about the rainforest regions
of Peru, and specifically about how snake venom is extracted, then sent to the United States to be used in medicines. We
had to design a container that would hold the venom tube in transit, and we developed prototypes and then tested them
out. Later, we were given height, weight and width restrictions and had to re-design our shipping containers. The work was a lot
of fun and the final presentations were great.”