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My name is Aitor Porro. I am the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Coordinator for the Primary Years Programme (PYP) in the ISI Lower School as well as the grades 4 and 5 Information Technology (IT) teacher. I also offer Spanish support, as I am a dual national- both British and Spanish.

Thanks to a gift from the Shipman family, we were able to build the Lower School STEM Lab in 2016. The lab has allowed us to establish a hands-on, innovating learning experience. Students have the opportunity to use the lab's resources to become risk-takers and dive deeper into key concepts within the International Baccalaureate curriculum.

Using the PYP's Programmes of Inquiry, I incorporate STEM lessons into several units of study.

In grade 4, the students build and launch rockets to complement the Out of This World unit. Grade 1 students cook outside using different forms of energy, such as fire, solar, and generators during a food unit. Grade 2 uses the STEM Lab to dissect owl pellets when learning about animals and their habitats.

These are just a few examples of how STEM and the PYP merge to create exciting opportunities for our students. 

The lab has allowed us to establish a hands-on, innovating learning experience. Students have the opportunity to use the lab's resources to become risk-takers and dive deeper into key concepts within the International Baccalaureate curriculum.

The STEM Lab, as well as the IT Lab, allows for a combined space, which provides students ample opportunities for exploration and problem-solving.

For example, this exploration provides grade 5 students a sturdy base where they can research and use all of the tools provided to them through the PYP to better participate and complete their compulsory Exhibition project. 

Exhibition is the culmination of the Primary Years Programme and a personal learning journey that leads them into the rigorous Middle Years Programme (MYP), by researching and creating stand-alone installations dedicated to their subject of choice. 

Students create sculptures of the planets in the STEM Lab.

 

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On November 1, ISI grade 1 students traveled to Jennifer’s Forest and Joyful Learning Nature Center to spend a day outdoors, exploring nature and completing activities for their second Unit of Inquiry: “Sharing the Planet”. The central idea of the "Sharing the Planet" unit focuses on using natural resources in a useful way and teaches students what natural resources are and how we can use them responsibly.

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