Team Building as Part of STEM

Students at the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering work in collaborative teams of three to five students, or “crews,” every day in class as they learn science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). We emphasize working in teams as a 21st century skill. Sometimes we also give the 7th and 8th graders opportunities to work together in team building activities, usually doing something fun. On Wednesday, after the majority of academy students had a mathematics mid-term exam for most of the morning, we gave them an opportunity to do some team building by playing the games they had designed earlier in the school year, or other team games they brought in. Some also flew the flight simulator together. All in all, the students were given the period to have some fun while forming bonds of teamwork. Here are photos of the activities:

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Building Teamwork Is First Step for New STEM Students

We returned to school this week at the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering. As a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program, we foster 21st century skills along with the technical disciplines of STEM. This means we show students the importance of critical thinking, problem solving, communication, creativity, and teamwork. Teamwork is taught from the moment the students walk into the academy, as everything else builds on the their ability to work together. On day one, they join a “crew,” a student group of about four students with whom they do everything in the academy. We also have the 8th graders, the “old heads,” teach the new 7th graders many of our academy norms and basic skills. On the first day of school, the 8th graders cheered in the hallway to welcome the 7th graders as they entered the academy. Today, the second day of school, the 8th graders taught the 7th graders how to operate and fly the STEMPilot Edustation flight simulators, and they explained our makerspace. When we go on field trips, each 8th grade crew pairs up with a 7th grade crew and shepherds them around. In many other ways, the students learn that teamwork and collaboration lead to a more successful outcome.

Here are photos of each class by our academy “tail fin” sign–Ms. Garavel is with the 7th graders, and I am with the 8th graders:

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Here are photos from today’s flight simulator and makerspace orientation:

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