Three Everett High School (EHS) STEM Academy students participated in a discussion on science and technology as part of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (M.A.S.S.) Executive Institute, which was held last week on Cape Cod.
The three-day conference attracted superintendents from across the Commonwealth and featured a jam-packed agenda filled with distinguished speakers, discussion groups, expert panels and networking events. One of the breakout sessions was titled “Student’s Take on Engaging & Rigorous Applied STEM Coursework,” and its facilitator, Katherine Skrivan from Mass STEM Hub, asked EHS science teachers Nancy Cianchetta and Anna Seiders to participate.
Together with incoming sophomores Isaah Katende and Rahnuma Aroshi and senior Michelina Tumblin, Cianchetta and Seiders traveled to Mashpee High School to join the energetic and informative discussion. The EHS students took questions from both the facilitator and various superintendents, and they clearly and articulately talked about their engineering courses and their thoughts on student-centered learning.
“Our classes are self-paced, but with deadlines, so we learn at our own pace,” said Aroshi about her Introduction to Engineering Design class. When asked what she learned the most, she said, “When I have a question, I might go to my teacher, but he will just say ‘What do you think it is?’ and send me back to my group. So we’ve learned how to work together to solve problems. Our teacher never just gave us the answer.”
All three students explained their favorite projects throughout the year as well as a project they might have failed on. “Failure is something we have learned is a good thing, because it makes us better,” said Aroshi. In agreement, Tumblin explained how a surveying activity designed for one week took two and a half because of errors.
Last year the EHS STEM Academy adopted the Project Lead The Way Engineering curriculum, which is focused on student-centered, hands-on learning. Currently, EHS offers Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering, Civil Engineering and Architecture, and Engineering Design and Development. Through these courses, students are not only learning key engineering content, but also valuable soft skills required for the workplace.
“I could not be more proud of how our students represented both themselves and Everett during the panel discussion,” said Seiders. “They answered every question very thoughtfully and impressed the room.”