GEMS and GISE are single-gender afterschool and summer school programs designed specifically for girls and boys grades 4th – 8th in the Minneapolis Public School District. The Little GEMS and Jr. GISE programs first piloted in spring 2010 for students in grades K -3 provides STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) opportunities to boys and girls early in their educational experience and positively influences student attitudes towards STEM academic areas and in STEM related careers fields. Students have an opportunity to enter in the program in elementary and continue through middle school establishing learning continuity and capacity. The programs focus on explorations of science and mathematics through project-based and problem-based learning experiences that promote the integration of engineering and technology concepts, content, and process. The curriculum is developed utilizing Minnesota State Standards for Science and Mathematics. The premise of the STEM-GEMS-GISE Program is to encourage and excite all learners in education while accelerating core content competencies, building confidence, and establishing a venue for real world learning and problem solving.
Students that participate in STEM-GEMS-GISE enroll in a year-long afterschool program that is comprised of two semester courses with an opportunity to continue learning in the three week summer K-8 STEM Academy at Augsburg College. At the end of both the fall and spring semester courses and the summer program at Augsburg students participate in an academic culminating event. The academic culminating events involve a design challenge that is constructed to support the content and concepts learned throughout the course either in a STEM tournament, festival, or exhibition. Students from 42 GEMS/GISE school sites across the district participate in the culminating curricular event. The parents, family members and community members also attend the K-8 culminating events. This year students in GEMS and GISE will demonstrate their learning in a program-wide at the K-8 Robotics Tournament & Exploring Engineering Exhibition on January 14, 2017.
Fall 2016 – Robotics
In this exciting robotics class students learn mechanical design, construction, programming, and teamwork skills. In pairs, using LEGO building elements, motors, and sensors, students build different robot prototypes and program them with a computer to move, react, and make sounds. Students will utilize their prototypes and programming to solve design challenges using the LEGO Mindstorms NXT Robotic System or the Lego EV3 Robotic System.
Students will participate in the 2016 Robotics FIRST Lego League Challenge: Animal Allies. The culminating event for this class is the STEM-GEMS-GISE /Minneapolis Exploring Engineering Robotics Exhibition and FLL Regional Robotics Tournament on January 14, 2017.
Spring 2017 – STEM in Speed (CO2 Balsawood Dragsters and Design Challenge Racers)
Explore Science and Engineering!
In these engaging and investigative classes students are immersed in the fundamentals of force, motion, and engineering in an interactive problem-based approach. Working in small teams and pairs, students solve a series of complex problems designing, constructing and testing several vehicle designs. Students explore a variety of forces that affect the motion and speed of the cars they design. (mass, thrust, friction, drag, ect.)
GEMS and GISE students conduct hands-on investigations that examine the design of a variety of racers and the related propulsion systems. Students will design their own racer prototype to test and modify for increased performance. Racer designs include downhill racers, sail racers, balloon buggies, rubber band racers, air pressure racers, solar powered designs, and CO2 balsawood dragsters.
Students work and learn through exciting, project-based engineering activities designing, constructing, testing, and troubleshooting as they work toward their final car and the time trials. The culminating event for this class will be the K-8 GEMS-GISE STEM in Speed CO2 Balsawood Racers Tournament and Design Challenge Racers on April 29, 2017.