School Bulletin: Full STEAM ahead at Fratt Elementary

School Bulletin: Full STEAM ahead at Fratt Elementary

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- It's full steam ahead at Fratt Elementary School in Racine as Dantri Woods completes her first year as the school's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics specialist. Woods visits the 500 students weekly. She wheels her cart of fun into each classroom, but it provides so much more.

"I try to base the lessons around their science curriculum," Woods says. "They're getting more hands-on. It's just an added layer for a little more reinforcement to what they're already learning in their classrooms."

One of the most popular activities across the school has been coding and robotics. Woods says in the kindergarten classes the students start with directional, unplugged coding. She says the kids just tell each other where to go -- left, right, forward or backward. Then the bots come out.

"They push robot's code to get it to move through mazes and different tracks," Woods says. "They engineer the tracks themselves and code the robots to go through those paths."

The older students in fourth and fifth grades get to take out the trash. Woods says they add recycled pieces to the robots and program them to collect materials around the room. They've even created a Mars rover simulation.

By this level, Woods says the students are learning a coding language called Python, which is used in real world applications.

"They can take this to their careers in the future," Woods says. "They're getting great exposure to all of that, and it starts here."

The exposure to more sciences will continue into the next school year. The district secured a $300,000 grant from Project Lead the Way, a non-profit that designs STEAM curriculum and lessons for schools. $20,000 has been set aside specifically for Fratt Elementary, and Woods says this will allow her to bring in more cool learning opportunities for the kids.

"I truly believe that with science it's such a hook. That phenomena just gets kids interested," Woods says. "You can really see those connections in all the subject areas."

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