EARTHFEST MONTESSORI-STYLE | May 2013
Upper Elementary students spent ten weeks understanding watersheds and storm water management under the guidance of The Montessori School’s Sustainable Science Teacher, Dottie Baumgarten, and STEM teacher Michael Johnson. Utilizing the TMS campus, students measured rainfall and runoff, and researched ways to prevent soil erosion and optimize water retention on the campus. Each step of their work was memorialized by a student “newscast” that created a digital journal and documented the entire project.
The students identified a rain garden as one management solution and with the help of an area landscape architect, Chris Zeek, designed a rain garden for the lower level of the TMS natural area or “playscape”. The design included remediation of soil for sufficient porosity and the choice of native plants for the site. Through the generous grant from the Schuylkill Action Network and its director, Tom Davidock, the students were able to purchase and plant a variety of native plants.
Upper Elementary students presented their project at this year’s EarthFest held in April 2013 at Temple University, Ambler. Already, the students are thinking about their EarthFest project for next year!
DESTINATION IMAGINATION WINNERS! | April 2013
Five elementary students of The Montessori School have been participating in Destination Imagination, and won a spot as first place winners. The Destination Imagination is a national program that encourages teams of learners to have fun, take risks, focus, and frame challenges while incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the arts, and service learning. Participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process. Teams showcase their solutions at a tournament.
This year the team of five students from The Montessori School worked on a Destination Imagination structural challenge titled “Twist-O-Rama” that was presented at a regional competition held in Endicott, NY. Their challenge was to build a structure that could survive a serious hit while holding weight. They also had to produce a prop or costume made of the same materials used in the structure, and tell a story with an unexpected twist. Their structure, made of cardboard, duct tape and glue, weighed less than 100 grams and was able to hold over 300 pounds. The team placed first in their category and qualified them to go to Global Finals.
Although not Montessori-driven, the Destination Imagination program accentuates Montessori principles. Students manage the process themselves, from ideation to execution. Participants’ parents and the team manager can ask guiding questions but not interfere with students’ own discovery, design, and learning process.