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Fifth Graders Pilot New “Space Academy” STEM-Based Math Program
A fifth grader tests their math calculations with their robot mission.

Fifth-grade math applications classes are piloting a brand new, hands-on, STEM-based math supplemental program. Throughout a series of ten challenges, “cadet crews” are on an exciting quest to locate and rescue P.I.P.E.R, a robotic space dog stranded on a distant exoplanet.
Throughout the missions, each cadet crew builds and customizes a robotic space rover to carry out the rescue mission all while applying graphing on a coordinate plane in all four quadrants, growth mindset, metric measurement conversions, place value patterns, quadrilaterals and properties, experimenting with using line graphs to make predictions about future events, and experimenting with average rate of speed.

Students apply classroom concepts to STEM-based math challenge.

“Experiencing the ah-ha moments, excitement, productive chatter, and active learning along with my students is the best part of teaching,” says fifth-grade math teacher, Katie Moore. “STEM-based projects like Space Academy help my students maximize their understanding of concepts while showing how skills like gathering and interpreting data, graphing, and measurement, in combination with softer skills like teamwork and perseverance, are relevant beyond our classroom walls.”
Over the last 10 years, our STEM program has grown dramatically as part of our ESD Tomorrow strategic plan. This new middle school math program fits in perfectly with recent school-wide STEM program enhancements, and allows students to witness the real-world applications of their math class subject matter. 
Learn more about STEM-based curricular programming at ESD here.