At Kellman Brown Academy, we have had the exciting opportunity to partner with Jewish Interactive to create a Jewish Community STEM lab. We have also had intensive, one-on-one training in Ji Tap and are learning how to gamify our teaching and learning. When Shavuot approached, we saw it as an opportunity to put our learning into action: not only were we planning a Tikkun Leil Shavuot, in which we had local clergy coming to our school to teach lessons of Torah to the students, but we also had a chance to create a game, using Ji Tap, to encapsulate the value of JSTEM- combining Jewish learning with STEM activities to make Judaism relevant and engaging.
Working with our JSTEM team, we created a game that would teach students about why we eat dairy on Shavuot, explain to students the scientific ideas behind making ice cream, and demonstrate through a youtube video the process of making ice cream, so that our students could make their own ice cream along with the virtual video. It was a day filled with energy and enthusiasm, as our community leaders joined with us to play the game and make the ice cream. Throughout the building, we could hear the sounds of students making meaning from our ancient texts, learning about different states of matter, and doing a lot of shaking to turn their liquid cream into a solid. It was a great first step into the world of gamifying and JSTEM- with hopefully many more to come. And best of all- the ice cream was delicious!
Looking ahead to the school year of 2018-2019, we have a lot of exciting things planned. Each class will have the opportunity to do a fall and spring J-STEM project that is related to their curriculum- for example, the Gan is looking to do a J-STEM project around bees and their habitats. Because of our integrated approach, can include a Jewish aspect and relate the learning to Rosh Hashanah and honey, we can talk about math and the types of homes that bees create, and we can relate it to tzedakah and help #BringBackTheBees.
We are also looking to capitalize on the community aspect of the JSTEM lab, and invite local synagogue schools to join us in this 21st century kind of learning.
We are looking forward to a year filled with partnerships, innovation, creativity and lots of JSTEM!
Click on the link below to play our game: