Eagle View Elementary earns STEM Innovation award
The award celebrates innovative and replicable science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs and projects happening in schools around Minnesota.
BREEZY POINT — Eagle View Elementary School in Breezy Point is Minnesota’s 2023 STEM Award recipient.
Presented by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association, the award celebrates innovative and replicable science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs and projects happening in schools around Minnesota.
In 2021, Eagle View Elementary School launched a new environmentally focused STEM program for all students.
During E-STEM, students participated in lessons based on the new Minnesota State Science Standards, which involves inquiry-centered learning that can take place in the indoor lab, outdoor nature center and surrounding forest, trails and lake. Through grants and donations, Eagle View Elementary built a yurt, which provides a sheltered meeting space in the nature center. One example of a fourth grade lesson was learning about the benefits of pollinators, how to identify different pollinators and observing and collecting data in their school gardens.
Students identified and counted the pollinators they found, recorded what kind of plant they were found on as well as the color of the flower. They completed the project by graphing what color plants pollinators are most attracted to. Through these types of lessons, the goal is to encourage kids to get excited about learning STEM subjects and build enthusiasm and appreciation for nature with the added benefits of spending time outdoors.
Because of the shift in the new Minnesota State science standards, along with the Next Generation science standards to include science practices, content and crosscutting concepts, this program allows students to build interest, wonder and skills for learning about nature and the STEM subjects.
The goal for the upcoming year is to continue to build connections between Eagle View and the Pequot Lakes community, providing more unique learning opportunities for the students.
Deanne Trottier, lead E-STEM teacher at Eagle View, recently joined the board of directors at Minnesota Association of Environmental Education and Happy Dancing Turtle, a nonprofit organization dedicated to growing good stewards of the planet through education, programs and experiences. She also has worked at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center during the summer, always looking for continued professional development and building connections for support throughout the school year.
The staff at Eagle View Elementary works closely with the Mobile Network at Sourcewell to support the technology piece of the E-STEM program. They also are partnering with area groups such as Whitefish Area Property Owners Association to teach about watersheds and Pelican Lakes Association to participate in their walleye fingerling program as well as their research on the management of invasive species in area lakes. Eagle View Elementary is also planning to work with the National Loon Center, which will open in 2024 in Crosslake.
They hope to expand access to nearby Rice Lake with a boardwalk observation area in conjunction with the DNR and canoes so they can take their wild ricing lessons out on the water. A long-range goal is to develop a school forest that will protect a space for outdoor learning for years to come. By dreaming big and building partnerships, they feel they can continue to grow their own program while providing inspiration for other schools and educators.
The STEM Innovation award gives principals the opportunity to share innovative programs and projects in their schools. An innovation database, created from entries for the award, is made available to principal association members, helping schools across the state replicate their colleagues’ successes.