Students at Robbins Elementary now have STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). This is part of their specials rotation, right along with art, music, and physical education. Having used The Walking Classroom as a fifth grade teacher, I knew the impact it could have on student motivation, energy, focus, and academic understanding. I was so excited for us to incorporate it into our STEM lab activities this year!
We currently have two “Walking Clubs” for fourth and fifth graders. These are students identified by their teachers as kids who would really benefit from the unique opportunity the Walking Classroom provides. The students have permission to leave their classes once a week for the club.
Club members who scored the highest on the previous week’s podcast quiz select the weekly topic of the walk from the STEM Program list. Their choices relate to something they are studying in the classroom or a topic about which they are interested in learning more. We engage in a pre-walk preview of the questions to focus our listening. Then we’re off to the beautiful soccer field at the back of our playground.
Upon returning to the STEM lab, after robust discussion, students take the podcast quiz. They also keep a chart of their quiz scores. This helps them set goals for improvement and track their successful understanding of the concepts!
What is the best part of the program? It is the enthusiasm of the students to attend every week. The rich content discussions that occur following each walk are an added benefit! The majority of our students are native Spanish speakers. The podcast introductions in Spanish always bring a smile. The English content that follows has really helped build our students’ academic vocabulary and understanding!
Next year, we hope to involve many more students in the Walking Classroom program. This will help enrich concepts they are learning in the regular classroom AND in the STEM lab!
K-5 STEM Teacher