STEM Showcase pulls crowd in, and out, of RMS-CES

The Rockford Middle School – Center for Environmental Studies (RMS-CES), hosted a showcase that featured areas of study, partners in learning, community organizations that include student involvement, and musical performances.

“Bottle Biology” samples and reports are displayed for visitors. (Photos by Linda Herkenhoff)The school’s staff, students and volunteers invited the public to come and observe a little of what the STEM program is like, including the indoor/outdoor experience of environmental studies. The great outdoors serves as a classroom throughout the seasons, so the cold and breezy afternoon was nothing out of the ordinary, and several booths were set up outside the school.

Ryan Borth (left), Three Rivers Outdoors Education Supervisor, and sixth grade RMS-CES student Lexie Becklund man the Three Rivers Park booth at the STEM Showcase. They are not in costume, just dressed for the conditions.

Ryan Borth (left), Three Rivers Outdoors Education Supervisor, and sixth grade RMS-CES student Lexie Becklund man the Three Rivers Park booth at the STEM Showcase. They are not in costume, just dressed for the conditions.

The district adopted a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) middle school curriculum in 2011 with an environment focus that incorporates nature into core areas of study with hands on experiments and research that make learning tangible and memorable. While much of the work is completed on campus, the district partners with several outside nature groups and foundations in including the Three Rivers Park District and Deep Portage for an extended experience. The Raptor Center gave a presentation at this event, and Mike Lynch of WCCO showed up for a “starwatch” demonstration complete with an arsenal of telescopic equipment.

The showcase was well attended. In its second full year, the enhanced curriculum is drawing positive critiques from students and parents, as well as a lot of interest.

A group of RMS-CES seventh students sell raffle tickets and other fundraising items outside the school Jennifer Piehl, seventh grade reading teacher, created the “spirit quilt” that is being auctioned off as part of a service-learning project called “Miracles for Maiya”.  Maiya is the daughter of an RMS teacher who has been diagnosed with cancer.

A group of RMS-CES seventh students sell raffle tickets and other fundraising items outside the school
Jennifer Piehl, seventh grade reading teacher, created the “spirit quilt” that is being auctioned off as part of a service-learning project called “Miracles for Maiya”.
Maiya is the daughter of an RMS teacher who has been diagnosed with cancer.

Additional information regarding RMS-CES, and it STEM curriculum, can be obtained by calling 763-477-5831, or by visiting the district’s web site at rockford.k12.mn.us

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